Meet Boris Tapia, AO Raritan Bay – South Amboy

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and we wanted to feature a few of our members who keep our chapters and organization running from coast to coast.

Pictured above: Boris, center, with the fam at the pregame tailgate before September's USA-Canada match.

Member, AO Raritan Bay - South Amboy

Bolivian American

How’d you get into soccer in general – and eventually the U.S. National Team?

I grew up with soccer through my dad. It wasn’t until 2014 that I started attending National Team matches across the country – when we played that June in Red Bull Arena (a 2-1 Send-Off Series win over Turkey), I was blown away by the atmosphere. From that day, I was hooked and wanted to attend more matches.

What got you into AO?

I love how everything’s organized – I can watch a match at a bar or even travel somewhere knowing I won’t be the only one rooting for the U.S. – even in London when we played Colombia in November 2014.

The next March, I went to the NB4 before our friendly in Switzerland. I was introduced to a lot of AOs there by Laurie of AO London. I saw them all again in Amsterdam that June (for U.S.-Holland) – and again in Boston (for U.S.-Brazil) that September. Every match in the future we started reaching out to one another to see who was going. From then on, we became more than friends, but family.

It’s awesome how people come into your life by just an introduction.

How many away games have you been to in Latin America? What have those experiences been like?

Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras – they’ve been amazing. I love experiencing the culture and food, and the fans are so passionate – every match I’ve been to feels like Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

After the match, the home fans interact with us – we exchange jerseys, flags, scarfs and take photographs. The crowd in El Salvador last month gave us a standing ovation when we entered the stadium. The fans respected us for coming so far to support the U.S. National Team.

What does the AO Family mean to you?

We all live across the country, and yet we communicate every day. During the pandemic, we’d check up on everyone to see how we were doing. I’m so grateful to AO for this, because otherwise I would never have met or added these great people to my life.

October 12, 2021