As Liverpool's American fans celebrate Independence Day in the United States, we've compiled a special extra edition of our weekly Global LFC family feature.
Rather than simply focus on one individual, today we've asked 24 fans from all over North America to tell us just why they pledged their allegiance to a football club thousands of miles away in the north west of England. These are their stories in our special July 4 edition of the LFC Global Family...
I came to Liverpool as an Armenian/Iranian college student in 1972 when Shanks was our manager and Keegan had just joined us. In the five years I was in Liverpool, I watched all home games from the Kop and travelled to most away games. I watched us win league championships in '73 & '76, the FA Cup in '74, UEFA Cups in '73 & '76. I was back in Iran when we got close to winning the treble in 1977. I travelled back to Liverpool and watched the home game versus West Ham, clinching the league, went to Wembley and saw us beaten by a deflected shot in the FA Cup and then on to Rome. What a night, indeed! I was living in Madrid at the time we reached another European Cup final in 1981. I went to Paris and had to sit with the Real fans, since I had bought my ticket in Madrid and saw us winning the cup again. I was even interviewed in Paris as "a fine Liverpool ambassador" on the BBC World Service.
Since then, I have been living in California and have been following the fortunes of my favourite Reds from thousands of miles away. There is a 'This is Anfield' sign in front of my house. I travelled to Liverpool with my son Armen in 1996 and we were at Anfield for a European night. Since that night he has been as ardent a Red as his old man.
Vazgen Aghajani, Tujunga, California
"Please don't put your life in the hands of a rock n' roll band who'll throw it all away."
It's probably not prudent to begin a missive on the origins of my love for Liverpool FC by quoting a band from up the M62; but I can only assume that Liam Gallagher was actually warning people off of supporting City, which is totally understandable. As it happens, though, my football fate was sealed more than a decade earlier when Ian McCulloch began lacing his live performance meanderings with obscure (to my adolescent American ears) references to Paisley and Shanks. I had no idea who either of them were but I loved Echo and the Bunnymen; so I ignorantly invoked those names for years while singing along to hissy bootlegs. Michael Owen finally opened my eyes during the 1998 World Cup. I've been happily throwing my life away ever since.
Erik Jones, Portland, Oregon
In the fall of 1992, at the age of nine, my first club coach was Jimmy Melia. He showed us old tapes of Liverpool and even his upset at Anfield in the FA Cup with Brighton in which he ran and saluted the Kop end. I heard 'You'll Never Walk Alone', got goose bumps and have been hooked ever since. Liverpudlians are English, they're from the north west but they are SCOUSE. People born and raised in Dallas are American, we're from the south but we are TEXAN! Our supporters group here in Dallas even sing, along with a bit of Scouse wit: "We only hate Mancs, and maybe some Yanks... Texas Scousers, we mostly hate Mancs!"
Jeff Baker, Dallas
In the bustling Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby, you could find two distinct classes of youth football coaches in the early 1980s: American fathers who knew very little of the sport-save for yelling "Kick the ball! Don't just stand there! Stop picking the ball up!"-and Greek and UK ex-pats who devoured a good kickaround any chance they got.
Even if it meant coaching five- and seven-year-old brats who were hell bent on using the word 'soccer'.
In 1984 our team kits were grey with black lettering. But we were told to 'play like the Reds'. Our coach, Tommy (a Liverpudlian), was a bricklayer by trade, chain-smoker by habit, and Liverpool supporter by birth. And, by extension, so were we.
I'd like to say our build up-had it been committed to video tape-was peppered with the sort of fluid moments that would have made Tommy blush with pride. But I'm sure it wasn't. Given our spindly legs and shared levels of foot-eye coordination that would make a chimpanzee laugh, I'm dead certain our goals were, if anything, sloppy and chaotic. A bit like our opening strike in Rome '84.
But I do know this: Tommy gave me a point of reference that became a casual following in my teens and a full-on path to becoming a supporter when the internet made keeping up with LFC easier than it ever had been. And here, some 29 years later he gave me something that I know I will pass on to my first-born son (or daughter) when s/he arrives in December of 2013.
Robert Smith, Philadelphia
In 2004, I studied abroad in Cheltenham. I got to experience Euro 2004 and the heartache of the last-minute loss to France. After I went home, the player that I distinctly remember was Steven Gerrard. I did my research on what team he played for and found Liverpool FC. I read any book I could on their history and knew that this was my team. Their humility after Hillsborough sticks with me even to this day. My only tattoo is of the Liver bird on the inside right of my ankle. Many people mistake it for a phoenix or worse, a chicken. But I get to correct them and share the story of Liverpool FC with anyone who is willing to listen because I know and believe it is a history and a story worth sharing.
Lauren M. Steele, Pennsylvania
At the age of 12, my first football match was the Brazil-Netherlands quarter-final in the 1994 World Cup. Then, as part of a Master's programme, I moved to northern England in 2008. I studied one year in Sheffield before completing a practical component in Copenhagen. What a fantastic opportunity to live in England and follow the best league in the world! My new friends suggested I follow their teams but I was quickly drawn to the Reds. Liverpool's working class history, brilliant midfield (Gerrard/Alonso) and Danish connection (Agger/Carlsberg's shirt sponsorship) all appealed to me. Before I knew it, I booked my own tour of Anfield. Only five years have passed but since then, I've been lucky to witness Kuyt and Torres battling in the World Cup final, Joe Cole's sending-off in the 2010 opening fixture, Downing scoring his Europa cracker against Anzhi and my beloved Liverpool playing right here in the US.
Ben Meers, Boston
I'm not sure if I qualify as an 'American fan' because I was born in Warrington. However, I came to the States in 1978 when I was eight and have lived here ever since. My granddad grew up in Tuebrook and played in the Liverpool Schoolboys team in 1932, so I was a fan from birth. As an adult he used to walk to every match with my uncle. As a youth it was difficult to follow the success of the team from abroad but my granddad would send me the annuals for my birthday and with the advent of cable television it became increasingly easier to watch them play. Every other Christmas or so I would come back to visit family and my brother, who still lives there, always gets a couple of tickets for the Boxing Day matches. It is such an honour to sit in the Kop.
Tony Morriss, Seaside, California
In the summer of 2006 I studied in London during the World Cup. My only prior brush with football was sitting through my little sister's youth games. I hated it. I was stunned by the passion for the sport in England. I'd never seen anything like it. While cheering for England I grew to love Gerrard and Crouch and decided to follow them after the World Cup. I woke up a few years later and realised that I had become a huge supporter and in love with a club in a city that I've never even been to. But I feel so much a part of it - the Liverpool family. I can't explain it. I watch every match - over a breakfast pint usually. I check Liverpoolfc.com every morning. I can't stop. I don't want to stop.
Brandon Ferraro, New York
When I first started playing soccer in America, I was extremely short and played as a striker. My coach at the time mentioned I played like 'Fowler'. I had no clue who he was. My father did a little research and we discovered this passionate team called Liverpool FC. Growing up in New England, I root for winning teams that have the most blue-collar, passionate fans and rich history. When FSG bought LFC, I could not be happier. Steven Gerrard is the Tom Brady of England. Always and forever Red.
Brendan Lynch, New England
It's simple. When I started watching in the late 1980s, Bruce Grobbelaar and Ian Rush had the best damn moustaches around. And this was just post 'Magnum P.I.'. Honestly, at that time only a few teams were shown on TV here in the States; Man United, Newcastle, Liverpool and maybe Arsenal or Everton. So, my friends decided we needed to pick our teams to support. Kurt chose Newcastle because of beer. Tommy chose Man United because he's a 6'4" blonde goalkeeper reminiscent of Peter Schmeichel. I chose Liverpool because I had grown up listening to the Beatles - I used to turn over my Lincoln Logs containers and bang on them like they were drums. I got to blend my two favourite things; football and music. It's no coincidence that the Beatles are the best band ever and Liverpool is the best football club ever. It's simple. I have great taste.
Marc Rigby, Columbus, Ohio
When I was 12, I watched Michael Owen score the goal of the decade against Argentina in 1998 on a television set from a small mountain town in Colorado. Later that summer, an English friend of mine brought me Owen's 'Soccer Skills' book from his trip to see his family and I treated it like my bible. I read it cover to cover, and I fell in love with Liverpool.
It was challenging to watch games in the US back then, and I'd go over to friends' houses to watch games at five in the morning. I followed everything closely on the internet, and I knew all the players and stats and won at fantasy football. Every match I watched, Liverpool either lost or drew. I didn't care, and it became an obsession. I followed for seven years before watching them win a game for the first time in 2005: Istanbul.
Chris Nicolaisen, Anchorage, Alaska
I started dating a girl who was wild about Stevie G. While strolling through the telly one day, I noticed Liverpool were set to begin a match in five minutes. I thought I'd catch a glimpse of my girl's favourite footballer. Of course, after watching him, I'd be able to dispel her devotions easily... I was ever so wrong. As I sat there on my couch, the echo of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' filled my house and I was blown away. Then, a moment of silence for the 96. I heard the raw emotion and witnessed the intense spirit of the supporters throughout the match. Liverpool won the match. I was sold. It was a beautiful introduction to what has become much more to me than simply a football club to support.
John Wagner, Cincinnati, Ohio
I support Liverpool Football Club because of the storied history, amazing (and loyal) fans, and world-class players. Attending a game at Anfield in the 2013 season for the first time since becoming a fan 17 years ago was an amazing experience that I will never forget and worth the 6,000-mile journey! I took an 'extended lunch' to watch us come back and win the European Cup in 2005. I searched a 50-mile radius to find a British pub in Southern California that was showing the Carling Cup final in 2012. I don't mind going to extremes to support LFC and will continue to sacrifice sleep, work, and family events to support the best football club in the Premier League. The 2013-2014 season is ours!
Melody Frieda, Anaheim, California
When access to watching the Premiership became available to me, I was 15 and totally obsessed with finding a team that I could identify with. My good friend was an Everton fan so I tried identifying with them but it never felt genuine. Then my very first Merseyside derby changed everything forever. Steven Gerrard captured my football heart from the very beginning and I knew that this team was who I would support for the rest of my days - through thick and thin. It also helped that I could generally give my friend a hard time about who he chose to support.
Jay Key, Plano, Texas
I follow LFC because of the passion. Not just for the sport and competition but the legacy of something greater. Throughout my life I have been into just about every sport at one time or another. But nothing means more to me now than Liverpool. Baseball games seem boring after screaming at my TV at five in the morning after Gerrard has hit the post. Watching NBA players jump from team to team is trivial after seeing Carra devote his life to his club. The way LFC players and fans still remember and honour the lives lost at Hillsborough makes the NFL look like a gang. Not a team. And especially not a family. I never made a choice to root for LFC. It just happened. The fans at Liverpool serenaded me into their club. Now let's go get No.6.
Danny Wayland, southern California
I watched 61 out of the 64 games in the 2006 World Cup when I was 13. I was amazed at this beautiful and sophisticated game. It took me two years (the Euros) to find out there were international leagues and that my favourite players from the World Cup played in England. I started watching the Premier League religiously. There was one team that caught my eye more than any other. I could tell even before I read every piece of historical information on the team that Steven Gerrard was something special. The fact my grandparents live in Liverpool (New York) was just a sign that it was meant to be. When asked why I support Liverpool, no Liverpool fan needs to hear my reply because we all have the same answer. They are simply a cut above the rest no matter what position they finish in the table.
Drew Ross, Norwalk, Connecticut
In 2006, I walked into a friend's house to find him watching the Community Shield match between LFC and Chelsea. I had heard of other English footballing giants like Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea, but I had never seen any of them play. I was instantly captivated by Liverpool in their all red strips and ravenously passionate fans. Soon enough, John Arne Riise scored an absolute firecracker for the Reds. I was hooked and I've never looked back. This interest evolved in to an obsession for me. Since 2006, I've visited Liverpool to tour Anfield and am now slated to study abroad in the UK with the goal of attending as many LFC matches as possible. This club has truly captivated my imagination and I believe will continue to do so for years to come.
Kevin Raus, Charlotte, North Carolina
I started to follow Liverpool heavily while I was in college. I loved watching Steven Gerrard play. He was unreal and consistent. He could just take over games and being a midfielder I idolised him. Then they had that wonderful season with him and Torres and had some crazy games and I just fell in love with the team.
After that I started doing research and studying the history of the club. I will say this, nothing compares to the history of Liverpool Football Club. All of the trophies, great players and managers - it is really tough to find a comparison. After I realised how much history and stature they had, I had to visit, so I bought a plane ticket and shipped over the pond. I got a pre-season ticket to Liverpool v Atletico Madrid. It was eye-opening. The chants and the 'You'll Never Walk Alone' were so amazing. It was a dream come true. I know it's no European night, but a game at Anfield is off the bucket list!
Thomas Dutcher, Kansas City
In 2006, I lived in Vietnam for work. My best friend was working in China and football was the only thing that was on TV we both could watch. He was already an LFC fan so by default, I became one too. What got me at the end was the camaraderie you felt on the pitch between the fans and the players, particularly when the Kop belted out YNWA. It was religious in scope.
If LFC is a religion and Anfield is our church, then there is no better gospel than 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. It's actually a hard song to sing. It doesn't come easy. You have to work at it. The good thing, you don't have to sing it on your own. You sing it with thousands of fans. I guess that's the point. That's what it means to be an LFC fan.
David Cheng, San Francisco, CA
It all started for me on March 2, 2003. I watched Liverpool defeat Manchester United. As I watched, I was won over by the contagious roars of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Since that day in my life, it is not a big house that I have dreamt of, nor a fancy car, nor a rich bank account. My dream is simply to sit inside Anfield at the Kop end and sing along with strangers beside me and cheer on the only club I have ever loved!
Jim Rochow, Columbia, Maryland
My name is Patrick Johnson and I am proud to call myself a Liverpool supporter. In America, most people grow up with the NFL, MLB, or NBA dominating their sports lives. Needless to say, I was a relative newcomer to the world of 'soccer'. What drew me to LFC was their passion for the sport and their supporters. LFC is more than just a football club to me, it really is a family. I see this every day when the club interacts with fans on a number of social media mediums. Whenever I am watching a match or wearing my Gerrard kit, I am reminded that I am a part of something bigger than a club, and wherever I am, I have an LFC family with me so that I will never have to walk alone.
Patrick Johnson, San Diego, California
I always grew up playing football (soccer as we call it) and every summer I would go away to a camp in NE Pennsylvania where a lot of Brits would be counsellors. When I was about 13 years old, a female counsellor from Merseyside gave me my first LFC shirt (1996 Reebok) and from then on I've been in love! I always thought that I never had a choice and that I never chose the club but I was lucky enough for the club to choose me.
Now I am 29 and live and breathe LFC. Michael Owen was my favourite when I was first starting to follow Liverpool and now I consider Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia as my favourites of all time. I watch 'One night in May' whenever I take a plane flight and I am a regular at the LFCNY bar in NYC. My love for LFC is pure and the club is almost as important to me as my family, because I am part of the LFC family.
Spencer Hochman, New York
I was born in 1965 in Idaho. Soccer was not broadcast on television or radio. Newspapers did not print scores. Yet soccer was my passion. In 1978, my sister Carolyn, who was living in Boulder, Colorado, sent me a weird Christmas present, a red T-shirt with 'Liverpool FC' written on the chest in white letters. That was when I became a fan.
I was a fan, but, because I lived isolated in Idaho, I did not really follow the team like most fans. Really, the day that I chose Liverpool FC as MY team was May 26, 2005. That was the day I watched the UEFA Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool that had been recorded on my DVR. I do not remember many sporting moments from my life but I will never forget that game - the greatest cup final ever.
Reese Jones, Idaho
The trip of a lifetime: 10 years ago I was lucky enough to train at the hallowed ground that is Melwood with my club team. Steve Heighway ran our sessions and allowed me to see the game in a way I had never thought to before. We took a thrashing from the Liverpool U16s - 7-1 if I recall and I was proud. The way they trained was humbling, the pitch they practiced on was pristine, their facilities were second to none, and the way they ate, breathed and lived football was beautiful. It was a dream and I was living it - albeit for a few weeks. Setting foot inside Anfield was a religious experience - listening to the crowd belt out 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in unison gave me chills. It was love at first sight, sound and smell. I felt a Scouser for life and knew I'd never again walk alone.
Mike Martinez, Denver, Colorado