Welcome Home, Portland Thorns FC

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A few months back I wrote a blog on how support for Portland Thorns FC might evolve.

Since then a lot has transpired, and I had intended to write a post-mortem about the Thorns home opener. However, before I could get the proverbial pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were), I received an email from @CaterJunes.

Rather than spending time trying to find the right words, I’m just going to steal his.

But, before I do,  I want to add just a few thoughts of my own:

There has been some question about the 107ist role in the Rose City Riveters (the supporters group for the Portland Thorns FC), and I wanted to clear up any confusion. The Rose City Riveters are being driven by a steering committee on which I sit as a liaison for the 107ist board of directors. The remainder of the members of that committee are 107ist members (as well as members of the Timbers Army). The 107ist is fully committed to providing budget and guidance to the Riveters to ensure that they can build on what we saw at the home opener.

Please also realize that, while some of this may sound self-congratulatory, we know it wasn’t perfect today, we’re not breaking our arms patting ourselves on the back. We’re going to go back, figure out what worked (Proclamer’s chants anyone) and what didn’t (Enrique Iglesias chants anyone) and try and get better. If you want to help us do that visit http://byanyothername.org or look up Rose City Riveters on facebook.

I’ve already written more than I intended, so I will close by saying thanks to everyone – from folks who painted to tifo to the steering committee members to the supporters – who came out to help ensure that the ladies of the Thorns FC got the support they deserved

And without any more of my drivel, I give you the wise words of Caterjunes:
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Anyone that felt the Portland Thorns FC supporters group was going to be forced from the beginning, rather than growing organically, would be very pleased by what happened today. This afternoon, we were able to see the fruits of a few dozen people’s labors. It was imperfect. It was awkward. It was committed. It was awesome.

A true test of the quality of support came early for the Rose City Riveters, as a few members were forced to ask the folks in the 200s – opened up last minute by the Thorns FO – if they would come down for a few minutes to help with the home opener tifo. As it turns out, it’s much easier for 40 people to cut a thousand seats worth of table roll than it is to fill those thousand seats. The Thorns version of the North End is going to take time to figure itself out. But when people are willing to do the prep work for the tifo, and brave enough to ask for help when the GA section is roomier than anticipated, the opportunity for a new supporters group to succeed is great.

Despite weeks of snarky comments on Twitter and elsewhere, the chants developed for the first printing of Riveters chant sheets were pretty good. No, not all were stellar, but they were fun and new, and – thankfully – not re-workings of old Timbers chants. Yes, there were PTFC chants and Rose City chants that were used word for word, but no chants featuring the word “Timbers” were used at all. This was a huge relief. We were even able to use a couple of anti-Seattle chants in the first home match. That was a nice touch.

Bottom line, we all have given the Rose City Riveters and its organizers a hard time throughout this endeavor. Turns out they were up to the task, and appear poised to move forward in a positive – and big – way as the main supporters group for the Thorns. Patch and Sunday were the only capos the entire match, and should be commended for reigning in ten sections of fans to the best of their ability. The tifo crew did a fantastic job of planning the display, getting the player two-sticks designed and painted, then presenting them to our newest athletes upon completion of the match. It was nice to be excited and enthused over something that, more often than not, was the butt of so many jokes leading up to the home opener.

Yes, there will be snark in the future, as there is with anything related to Portland soccer. But if this group of supporters continues on in the same way it began, I have no doubt Jeld-Wen Field will be home to the two greatest groups of football supporters the world has ever seen.

Note: Photo Credit – Portland Thorns FC

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2 Responses to Welcome Home, Portland Thorns FC

  1. Ryan says:

    I had the opportunity to watch and listen to The Riveters from the other end of the park (last minute tickets in 221), and I was impressed with the enthusiasm. It didn’t feel contrived. At all. And that honestly came as a surprise. I really expected far less than what was put on display. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the support that was given to the ladies on the field.

    Kudos to Sunday and Patch for turning their backs to yet another team in order to keep the choir singing. And though they’d never pat themselves on the back, kudos to Coleman and Sierra (yes, I saw you two) for getting the 200′s up as well.

  2. Brendan O'Hanlon says:

    Really impressed. From the south deck the Riveters were coming through clear and strong, and I have to admit it was worthwhile to (in a critic’s word) “force” things a little rather than let it “develop naturally,” as that performance certainly made an impression on the fans who were present and will hopefully help encourage people to continue to attend Thorns matches in greater numbers.

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