New England Soccer Today

A Show of Support

Photo credit: Jeff Bernstein

Photo credit: Jeff Bernstein

For the first time since 2009, the U.S. Men’s National Team returned to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough for CONCACAF Gold Cup action against Haiti on Friday. And it was readily apparent what a difference six years has made just by looking at the crowd.

During their last appearance in Norfolk County, the U.S. settled for a 2-2 draw against Haiti in front of 24,137 fans. That number nearly doubled for Friday’s contest as a record-46,720 fans packed the stadium to watch a 1-0 win over Haiti, coincidentally.

Behind the massive numbers was the official supporters group of the U.S. Men’s National Team, the American Outlaws. In fact, Friday’s match served as a homecoming of sorts for the group, which established one of its first chapters in Boston.

“Being at a USA game with American Outlaws is always an amazing experience,” Providence Chapter President Kyle Lindsay said when asked about the experience. “Not only is it great to see all the chapters in the Northeast, but meeting fellow fans that traveling from across the country. The community and patriotic atmosphere it creates is always fun. Starting from the tailgate, and socializing, to the singing in the stands.”

After setting up a massive tailgate in the parking lot ahead of U.S.-Haiti, the Outlaws marched Gillette Stadium with more than 2,200 rabid soccer fans. The crowd helped cheer the team on to a 1-0 victory. Their efforts did not go unnoticed by the team as U.S. coach Jurgen Kilnsmann opened his postgame press conference praising the crowd.

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All photos courtesy of Jeff Bernstein

“A lot of thanks to the fans for coming out here,” Klinsmann said. “Amazing. Amazing atmosphere. Great crowd.”

The players also took notice as well. Goalscorer Clint Dempsey, who once called Foxborough his home when he suited up for the Revolution between 2004 and 2006, stated it was one of the best crowds he’d ever seen at Gillette Stadium.

Midfielder Michael Bradley was also extremely complementary of the crowd.

“Another amazing atmosphere,” Bradley said when asked about the record crowd. “Somebody told me it was a record in this stadium for the Gold Cup which is, it makes a big difference. It really does. In terms of pushing us on. Especially on a night like tonight where, like I mentioned before, the field is far from perfect. The crowd’s ability to push us on, their ability to bring energy and enthusiasm — it’s big. To be able to play in games like this where the crowd is getting really into it is fantastic.”

As the U.S. moves on to Kansas City for Monday’s group stage finale against Panama, the American Outlaws will continue to follow and root on the team. However, for one night, the Outlaws helped make New England the center of the U.S. soccer world.

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