The following is an open letter from the Riveters Steering Committee:
Dear Providence Park – An optimistic open letter to the players, staff, supporters, and owners of the team in the year 2024!
We’re so glad to see you here in 2024. We have all been through a lot these last few years, and we’re glad to see you that you are still here in the new year, breathing deeply in the fresh air of tomorrow. That’s not to say everything is done and dusted. It’s not to say we’ve achieved a plateau of perfection or that we’ve stopped striving for more, but we are still here. And that means a lot.
Players of the Thorns, we want the world for you. You impress us every day, and are the center of what brings us together. Looking ahead from our perch in early 2023, we see many opportunities and dreams ahead. We see you playing soccer and achieving great things on the pitch, and we see your success in whatever endeavors you choose to focus on as you heal from this hurricane of a time. For years, you have achieved at the highest level– despite the abuse faced by many of you and your teammates, despite the fact that you were not given all that you deserved. We look ahead and see a future where the sky’s the limit. We see training facilities, staff, marketing, and sponsorship that is focused on you and your accomplishments. As importantly, we see an environment that ensures your safety and security, and meets your needs as elite athletes. We are looking ahead now, and we can see that the road is paved with possibility. We can’t wait to see where it goes and what you will achieve.
Supporters of the Thorns, you are the heart and soul of soccer in Portland. What we do here is bigger than spectatorship, bigger than fandom, and bigger than one team. Supporters of the women’s game, inclusive of its non-binary and trans players, know that we support players who succeed in the face of tough odds, who are living their dreams, and for whom those dreams have never held a certain foothold in the reality of the sports landscape.
You have been riding a roller coaster that you never signed up for these past few years. Looking ahead at 2024, we hope to celebrate this team with you once again. In the 2024 we envision, the team’s new owners are still settling in– but already making great strides. We are excited and supportive of these changes, we are glad for the transparency they demonstrate when possible, we watch closely and listen to the players as we welcome this new ownership and new era for our team. We are still here. This place is still home, and we will protect this place.
Rose City Riveters, our word this year is community, and we dream of the community that will thrive as we move into a new era for the team. Community is internal– it is who we are, what we do, and how we stand up for one another. It is in the stadium– the place that means the world to so many of us – and the friends and family we have met there. It is even bigger than that. It is how we engage with the city around us and the people who live here.
To the new owners in 2024, you undoubtedly realize that you have inherited an unruly horde of supporters along with your purchase of the club. We hope that you have also come to realize that our passion is only matched by our caring and our dreams. We dream of true equality, emotional and physical safety, and playing environments that match the excellence we see before us each season. While we might make you uncomfortable at times, we share your hopes and dreams for this team. We welcome you, the new owners of the Thorns, and are hopeful for a future where we can play our independent roles in harmony– for the greater good of Portland soccer.
We, the Steering Committee, have heard all of you, and we have been working on becoming bigger, broader, and better. We are turning on the porch lights wherever we can, and opening the gates. 2024 Steering Committee, we see you with your crowded table, full of folks representing the breadth of passion in this community. Gameday, community, events, and so much more. There are perspectives that are new, ones that have found space to return, and those that have been around for a while. Around this table we challenge one another with care and respect, we welcome other voices to speak up and contribute.
To everyone who makes this team what it is, we have a lot to do in 2023, but we look forward with hope for 2024 and beyond. “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” These words may never have been more true for the Riveters and the Thorns than they are today.
What might we be at this time next year? The possibilities are limitless.
The Riveters Steering Committee