Adams ‘American Outlaws' chapter celebrates U.S. win in World Cup opener
ADAMS -- With Mount Greylock as the picturesque backdrop, Victory Street was the picture of Berkshire County serenity on a perfect Monday evening.
Then someone opened the front door at the nearby Polish National Alliance, and a passionate chant ended the stillness.
"I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!"
Inside the PNA, at least two dozen red-clad, flag-waving supporters of the United States men's soccer team were chanting and cheering their way through a 2-1 U.S. win over Ghana in the team's group-play opener of the 2014 World Cup. Many were members of the Adams chapter of the American Outlaws, a nationwide unofficial group of U.S. soccer team supporters with more than 100 chapters and 18,000 members.
The group is one of just three in Massachusetts, with the others located in Boston and Chicopee. The Adams contingent -- which started with five members in 2012, but has grown to about 30, according to co-founder and president Andy Przystanski -- believes Adams is the smallest town in America to have an active American Outlaws chapter.
"I just wanted a place to watch the games," Przystanski said. "And not just watch the games in my living room, but watch the games with the same atmosphere I experienced in cities across the country. ... We've always seen that passionate support, and we wanted to bring that here in Adams."
Przystanski, a 25-year-old New York City resident, graduated from Hoosac Valley High School, but wasn't a Hurricane soccer player. Neither was Jason Duval, 23, the group's vice president. Nor was Nick Langner, 26, the Adams AO treasurer.
All of them developed their passion for soccer in college -- Przystanski at Bennington College, Duval at Westfield State and Langner at MCLA.
Langner, Duval and Przystanski first learned of the Outlaws at a USA-Brazil friendly, or exhibition match. After that match, they saw another match at an Outlaws watch party in New York City.
"We had the greatest time ever," Langner said. "We said, ‘We've got to bring this back home. We've got to start doing this.' "
With John Duval and Evan Czerwinski, they formed a prospective AO chapter in 2012. Once they had 25 members, the group was official. They even have official chapter shirts, featuring Adams' William McKinley statue and a soccer ball perched at the 25th President's feet.
The PNA has been the Adams AO chapter's home bar from the start, and even the PNA regulars were in the American spirit for 90 minutes Monday.
"The people we know, they're friendly. They'll give us food. It's so great, the atmosphere we have in Adams," Jason Duval said.
The celebration started very early Monday, as Clint Dempsey put the Americans ahead 1-0 a little more than 30 seconds into the match. The chants and cheers didn't stop, either, when Ghana tallied the tying goal in the 82nd minute. That faith was rewarded just four minutes later, when John Brooks' score off a corner kick touched off a wild celebration from the back to the front of the bar.
2-1 USA! pic.twitter.com/8RNuDtOnaG— AO Adams (@AdamsAO) June 17, 2014
With the win secured, the beer flowing, and the Americans' chances of advancing out of the so-called "Group of Death" having improved substantially, Przystanski stood on a chair in the back of the bar and announced loudly that the Adams American Outlaws would be back here Sunday for the next group-play match, against Portugal.
Langner said Monday's gathering was the largest the group has ever had. After the win over Ghana, Sunday's outing might just top it.
Not bad for the little underdog faction of a support group for an underdog American team.
"We may be small, but given what's happen tonight, and the noise you heard, we're just as capable as New York, Boston or D.C.," Przystanski said. "We may be small, but we're just as loud of a chapter, and you can feel the passion here in Adams."
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