The following is an open letter from the Rose City Riveters steering committee.
Dear Players of the Portland Thorns,
A year and a half ago, as we prepared for a partial return to in-person games, we sent an open letter to Providence Park, wishing for the day when we would be back in full voice, filling the stadium to the rafters with cheers and chants, waving flags and popping smoke. We all awaited the day when we would once again raise our voices in collective joy as we cheered you on to victory.
Your game brings us together – it creates community from the pitch to the stands to the city that surrounds us. When the ball hits the back of the net, when a defender pulls off a perfect tackle, when the passing connects and we watch you play this beautiful game – through all of that, we lose ourselves in watching you, singing for you, sending you every ounce of energy and joy we can muster from the stands. Then we take that collective power and we spread it to the community, working to connect the dots of Team, Town, and Riveters. This spark comes from you and spreads into a bonfire that burns so bright.
At times, over the last year, our experience in the stands has been more solemn.
When we watched you come together with your opponents during the 6th minute, on October 6, 2021, we were overcome by the power and strength you showed. We have watched you step up as leaders on and off the pitch– from first-year rookies to the most experienced veteran players, you have truly blown us away. As we have navigated, personally and collectively, the tricky questions of how best to show our support for you– current players, past players, future players– we eventually found ways to reclaim some of that joy. Our joy is, truly, an act of resistance and community.
We are amazed by what you have accomplished this year. In the midst of such turmoil, you pulled together and poured your hearts into this game and each other, ultimately earning a semifinal at home. We wish that we could fill the stands with a sea of red, rise to our feet throughout the stadium, and sing with one collective voice to cheer you on.
Once again, we stand at a decision point. Our members and dedicated volunteers must make some tough personal decisions. Some folks simply are not comfortable in the stadium right now. Some do not feel that they can give their money to the owner. And some will purchase tickets and be there, ready to cheer with all their hearts. These are all decisions that we understand and support.
But we want you to know. Whether we are in the stadium or outside of it, in the street or at home, we support the players of the Portland Thorns. We support you. You have been through enough, and we will be here no matter what happens next.
The Rose City Riveters