Here you go, I have no idea why this would be blocked, some kind of automatic filter linked to cheerleaders perhaps? I hope my mentioning the word won't cause this page to be blocked as well...
I noticed that the demi-official USA national (soccer) team supporter's group has a name for the folks who lead their section of the stands in chants/cheers; a word I'd never seen used for that before: "Capo".
I'm curious if this is just something they came up with on their own, or is this an actual common use for this word?
The proper English word for this role probably really ought to be "Cheerleader". However, while that's probably what cheerleaders did in the 1920's, these days cheerleaders are essentially glorified dance/gymnastic troupes. So I suppose I can see where a new word for the actual act of leading the fans in cheers would be required. Is this that word, or just AO's attempt at it?
Capo is an Italian word which first and foremost means head as in the anatomical part of your body. Consequently; a director, manager, president, chief, or even the boss of a company can all be called "capo".
From the AO US Soccer supporters' website:
What would a Capo be expected to do?:
Direct the entire crowd into unified support of the team.
A strong capo may sacrifice for the good of the crowd, but can stay motivated, loud, and passionate for 90 + minutes. They can hold the respect of the crowd to lead the section for the whole game and for every game.
However, when talking about the head or leader of a sports team, a (military) squad or a group of workers, caposquadra is the most commonly used word. I suspect it is this expression, more than "capo" itself which has been loaned to the soccer team supporters' group.
After doing a little Italian research, I can confirm that "capo" is indeed the Italian football supporter responsible for co-ordinating the chants, football songs, and cheers of encouragement. He is recognized as the leader of the Ultras; "armed" with a loud-hailer the capo is assisted by several colleagues to help sustain the level of support.
Capo is a position in the Mafia - not the Boss or his deputy, but the head of a branch: see Wikipedia's article for Caporegime.
Here is seems to be being used for the head of a section.