Editor’s note – Many who follow soccer, especially in the Supporters Community, have someone like this that was their personal invitation to the environment that is soccer in the United States. It is our understanding that Sam Williams passed away recently, and we extend our condolences to him, his family, and his brothers and sisters in arms in the supporters groups he made better. A memorial fund has been established to support his family: http://www.gofundme.com/qhccdk.
It is truly a sad day in the DFW soccer community.
By Fletcher Whiteley
A lot of us have stories about how we got interested in soccer. For me, it was through a college roommate of mine back in 2008. I never really got into it though back then. I played FIFA, rooted for Chelsea, and watched the Champions League. It was not until I moved to Dallas where I really started following it as closely as I do now. I was watching the USA in the Gold Cup quarterfinals last year when I saw that the USA was going to be playing the semi-finals in AT&T Stadium. I thought this was a great chance for me to go see the USA, but also meet the American Outlaws a group that I heard so much about. The party the night before was held at Abbey Pub and it was packed. My only problem was, I knew nobody there. Everybody was laughing and doing shots, but I sat at the bar silent drinking my Guinness as I had not enough drinks in me that night to be a social butterfly.
As I watched the Texas Ranger’s game, a hand tapped my back and said hello and asked if I was new. I told him I was and he gave me a welcome as I had literally joined the American Outlaws the morning of the event. He was happy to hear that I joined and took a lot of interest in making me feel comfortable. I asked him his name as I was happy to finally meet somebody that night. He smiled and told me his name was Sam Williams.
Sam took me around and introduced me to others that night. I got the chance to meet Lauren Hufham, Bryan Jones, Kasey Baker, and everybody’s favorite bartender T.J. Underwood. That night not only got me hooked on the American Outlaws, but it got me interested in FC Dallas as Bryan gave me tickets to an upcoming FC Dallas since I had never been to a game.
I saw Sam just two weeks ago at the Staggering Irishman for El Classico. He was in good spirits, and happy about the progress of his beloved Tottenham and the future of Harry Kane with Tottenham. We talked briefly and I went on to sit with others as Sam was with company.
That was the last time I saw Sam and now he is gone. I wish I said more to him that day. Most importantly, I wish I could thank him. If it was not for Sam coming up to me that night and saying hi to me, I probably would not have gone to the American Outlaw’s tailgate the next day and I would not be covering this team on this website. Most of you would not even know me as I probably would still be the EPL snob who would not degrade himself to watch MLS.
Goodbye Sam. You have the best seats out of all the supporter groups now. Most importantly Sam I have one thing to say.
Thank you Sam. Thank you for all the friends I have made and this great adventure of covering soccer that I love.
Those of us at the SoccerIN have all been impacted by fans and supporters’ culture in some way, and we would ask you to take time in a moment of reflection to thank those that helped bring you into this amazing tapestry that is US Soccer. And if you are one of those who does the reaching out, or helping with tifos, or waving flags, or managing all the things that have to happen to allow fans to be who they are, this is a direct thank you for things you don’t get thanks enough for.