Several moons ago, during the golden age of rotary phones and station wagons with wood paneling on the side, U.S. men’s national team fans were rare animals found frolicking across patches of semi-dead grass adjacent to suburban cul de sacs. Finding them was hard; defining them was an even bigger challenge. But over the last two decades, U.S. supporters have emerged from the darkness and evolved into recognizable, Yankee-themed caricatures you might find on an adorable, late-night Comedy Central movie.
There’s Super John, for instance. No one knows Super John’s real name or where he sleeps. No one even knows why everyone calls him Super John as he boasts no noticeably heroic aura, unless being an omnipresent figure at the bar and never turning down a drink is 21st century heroism. Super John is a hoot and always brimming with sunshine. Dumping a reluctant Super John into a taxi is typically the last scene of every gameday.
Then there’s Pedro. Pedro never shuts up about tactical shortcomings. Every team and coach is tactically inept and he’ll tell you why, even though you never asked. Pedro is never really that fun, but two out of every five things he says are borderline fascinating. Plus, he balances out Super John’s positivity, which, let’s be honest, matters.
My guess is you’re bound to recognize a few of these characters. In fact, you could very well be one of them—and I mean that with all due respect. Kind of.
So, what kind of #USMNT fan are you? And did I miss any personalities?
1. The Über-Patriotic Fan
Catch phrase: “USA! USA! USA!” Avid “USA!” chanter. Leader of “USA!” chants. Chants without a trace of sarcasm. In fact, has never used sarcasm. Generally, neck veins bulge while “USA!” chanting, while spittle, to the mild disgust of everyone else, rests on the corners of his or her mouth.
Beer of choice: Any lite, tasteless beer. If there’s a tall-boy version, chances are they love it. Loves chugging and peer pressuring others to drink quickly. Strongly believes that the goal of drinking is to finish as much as possible in the shortest period of time. Sadly, doesn’t pay attention to the “Drink Responsibly” warnings. This comes back to haunt them later.
Attire: If you could wear bald eagles, that. Otherwise, an American flag bandana, an American flag, Wrangler jeans (especially the patented u-shape design), and sandals, possibly with socks. Choice of attire rarely matches the weather conditions.
Occupation: Says “sports journo” but really only posted two things on Bleacher Report in 2010.
Other notable traits: Hates tactics and statistics but has strong opinions on everything, especially tactics and statistics when the U.S. fails to get a result. Never asks questions. Close friends with bro in no. 6 (The Patriot) below. They are not the same person. Has never heard of Greek yogurt or beets.
Marital status: Aggressively single.
One word to describe their gameday experience: Blackout.
2. Knows nothing about soccer but likes drinking and fun things.
Catch phrase: “Who’s the red team?”
Beer of choice: Anything wet. Loves other cultures, so proudly drinks Strongbow when available and pouts when bars don’t serve it. Says things like, “What kind of pub doesn’t have Strongbow?” Loves saying “pub.” Talks about Guinness as an “Irish breakfast” every time they drink Guinness. Doesn’t know any real Irish people or what they eat for breakfast.
Attire: Never soccer clothes, but frequently talks about buying a [insert player who scored the last important USMNT goal] jersey. Never does and never will, though.
Occupation: Non-Profit Program Assistant.
Other notable traits: The soccer is incidental to the fun. Always wants to have a not-very-interesting conversation during the game, and especially during the most dramatic moments. Doesn’t understand why you’re ignoring them. Soccer-related stories almost always end up as nostalgic trips back through his study abroad experience in exotic Leeds. Open to leaving early to beat the traffic, even in tight games.
Marital status: Faithfully engaged to soon-to-be ex-partner.
One word to describe their gameday experience: “How can a game end 0-0?”
3. The organizer. Just likes organizing things and socializing.
Catch phrase: “This is what we should all wear.”
Beer of choice: Doesn’t drink much because always organizing and hosting. Always whines about never getting a chance to get a drink because they are so overwhelmed, never acknowledging that the hectic schedule is a side-effect of having a chronic, must-organize-everything disorder.
Attire: Ornate, America-themed costume (e.g., Statue of Liberty). Otherwise, something comfortable and at least one lanyard. Quite possibly a whistle. Often ends up on SportsCenter and interviewed by soon-to-be fired local news reporters.
Occupation: Unhappy attorney.
Other notable traits: Takes organizing so seriously that the entire vibe begins to feel like a continuation of work for event participants, as you have to, for instance, (1) RSVP, (2) arrive at a certain time, and (3) bring something concrete to the table. Loves playing in an adult kickball league called “Urban Kickball,” or something like that.
Marital status: See Match profile.
One word to describe their game day experience: Adult kickball league.
4. The “Carlos Bocanegra is so hot” advocate.
Catch phrase: “Carlos Bocanegra is so hot! Is he playing today?” No. No he is not. That era is over.
Beer of choice: All the alcohol.
Attire: Never wears official gear, but always wears the right colors. Clothes say, “I’m here for the festivities, but not really.” Also, face paint, if available.
Occupation: Accounts Receivable Manager
Other notable traits: Claims to love the #USMNT, but actually only tracks Bocanegra’s movements with stalker-like precision. Know Los’s address. Brags about it to friends and colleagues. Contracted tetanus from climbing Los’s chain-link fence. Twice. Shameless.
Marital status: Alone but planning on putting a lot of energy and resources into catfishing Carlos in the near future.
One word to describe their game day experience: Ritalin.
5. Mr. Women Don’t Know Anything About Soccer
Catch phrase: “Bro.”
Beer of choice: Who cares.
Attire: Who cares. But often sleeveless.
Occupation: Always talking about having to get a protein shake and describing Crossfit. Clearly has never done Crossfit.
Other notable traits: Doesn’t really know very much about soccer, but has to join every conversation because there’s an argument to win dammit. Louder is the path to winning arguments and impressing women. Suggests pick-up artist “literature” to friends. Scary, but thinks people love him. Actually says, “People love me.” Ends too many nights out vomiting. Never learns. Calls fajitas, “fah-jigh-ters.” Thinks his pronunciation is spot on.
Marital status: Scared.
One word to describe his game day experience: No.
6. The Patriot
Catch phrase: Anything that involves degrading other countries.
Beer of choice: ‘Murican beers. Not craft beers, but ice-cold, absolutely freezing ‘Murican beers.
Attire: Camouflage, but is unaware that all of their camo is manufactured abroad.
Occupation: Always just says “in finance” but you can’t tell whether it’s because of embarrassment or whether the prevailing sentiment is that you don’t have the mental capacity to understand “complicated” job descriptions.
Other notable traits: Gets into soccer for nationalistic purposes. Loves saying, “FUCK [insert any non-USA country]!” Calls anyone who speaks Spanish, Mexican. Allergic to geography. Repertoire still consists of bombing songs, WWII-era references, using shitty accents that all sound the same, and “your mother” jokes, which they still find funny. “So, what do you do?” is always their second question.
Marital status: Engaged to the founding fathers.
One word to describe his/her game day experience: Patriot Act.
7. The “Sick of Hearing People Analyze American Fans” Fan
Catch phrase: *eye roll*
Beer of choice: Doesn’t really drink beer very much anymore. More of a wine and spirits drinker, a habit picked up as a child at the turn of the 18th century.
Attire: A jersey, never with a name on the back. A fun, but not too fun t-shirt. But always dresses for warmth first. See t-shirt over thermal. The shaw covering up attire adds mystery.
Occupation: Unknown. Never shares personal information.
Other notable traits: Just wants to watch the game. Has no interest in comparing America to anything. Dreams of fetal positions when caught in the middle of “What if American soccer did this?” conversations. As you can tell from the picture, she has been around long enough to have heard it all. Generally, she is not interested in your “brilliant” observations.
Marital status: Unknown. Vaguely talks about someone who could be a partner, but could also just be a neighbor. Doesn’t care about satisfying your boring curiosity.
One word to describe her game day experience: Not impressed.
8. The “I Used to Play Soccer” Snob
Catch phrase: “When I played …”
Beer of choice: Yuengling, and always tells anyone in shouting distance that the Yuengling brewery is the oldest brewery in America. Never mind that it says so on the label.
Attire: Never soccer gear. “Used to play” snob is past that, and judges you with spiteful glares for even suggesting that soccer gear is appropriate for anyone not standing on a soccer field. Still learning the nuances of pocket squares.
Other notable traits: Basically the youngest sibling of “But how much can you lift, bro?” Nothing impresses the “I used to play” snob, because the “I used to play” snob always knows a someone who did something more impressive than whatever you just found impressive. A typical sentence begins with a judgmental grunt, followed by, “When I played, I knew …” The conversation usually ends when your eyes glaze over or you die from boredom. This person is not Jimmy Conrad. Seriously. I’m serious. This is the only picture we could find.
Marital status: Surprisingly in a very loving, committed relationship since 10th grade.
One word to describe their game day experience: Hatred.
8. The Euro Snob
Catch phrase: “It’s called football.”
Beer of choice: Anything that allows an opportunity to bring up “that time I went to Oktoberfest.”
Attire: Entire outfits made out of scarves. When cold, throws sweater over shoulders and then a scarf over that.
Occupation: Graduate school.
Other notable traits: Hates MLS but for some reason is always talking about the quality of MLS. Has never watched an MLS game. Claims to have been an Atletico Madrid fan for several years. And a Dortmund fan.
Marital status: Friends.
One word to describe their game day experience: Ambiance.