The Family I Choose
I did not grow up a soccer fan, having discovered my love for soccer in college. Since then, it has grown to be the only sport that really matters to me. I see it as a chance to express positive national pride. So often these days, national pride is used in a negative way or only expressed every four years when the Olympics roll around. I am able to experience and express positive national pride every time the USNTs take the field.
The American Outlaws (AO) fan community that surrounds the USNTs is exceptional. Many of these folks have become some of my closest friends. Our parents had the church as the center of their social lives. I have my local soccer club and the supporters called the Chattahooligans, and I have the national team and the American Outlaws. Those are the people who would take care of my wife if I were hit by a bus, and the family I choose to do life with.
Too often in modern times, national pride is divisive, negative, and political. For me, supporting the USNTs is the exact opposite of this. It is a chance to lift up those representing my country, surrounded by people who I love and respect, and embrace what makes us proud, our soccer players. It is not about degrading other countries, but about loving ours. It is a chance to show pride that is not exclusionary, but inclusionary. Show up and support the United States. That is the requirement. Who you are or where you are from, it does not matter.