What the heck is a challenge coin?

30 Jan 2017 5:00 PM | Sherrilynn Rawson (Administrator)

For several years now, 107IST members have been the people who fund the engine that fuels the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters. In addition, 107IST members have had the chance to acquire an additional "thank you gift" (sometimes affectionately referred to as "swag") each year they sign up or renew. From enamel pins to bottle openers to tote bags to keychains, we've had a variety of different 107IST membership gifts in the past.

This year, 107IST members who say "yes, I want a membership gift" will get a challenge coin when signing up or renewing for 2017. (Local members get a voucher they can redeem for a challenge coin at the Fanladen; members who live further away will get their challenge coins in the mail.)

What the heck is a challenge coin?

Challenge coins have several origin stories, all military in origin. In the Roman Empire, coins were sometimes used to recognize a soldier's achievements. Modern challenge coin origin stories include tales of a flying squadron in World War I; stories of the OSS in World War II; and still other accounts of the 17th Infantry Regiment in the Korean conflict.  Regardless of the origin, the general notion of a challenge coin is to commemorate membership in a particular military group, and is also often associated with special achievements or visits. A coin can be a source of pride, a memento of a special event, a morale booster, and/or proof of membership in a group. 

The "challenge" part of the name refers to coin holders being challenged to present their coins. As in origin stories, the rules for coin challenges vary, but most have a similar theme: upon being challenged to present coins, all coin-holding members of a group must physically present their coins. Any member who cannot produce his/her coin is generally responsible for buying other members present a beverage. If all members in attendance are able to produce their coins, the person who challenged others to present coins must instead buy all members present a beverage.

The 107IST challenge coin for 2017 is a beautifully crafted commemorative coin. On one side, there is a representation of a 107IST member doing volunteer work with Operation Pitch Invasion (thank you, Nicole Barker, for the photo it comes from). On the other side are the logos of the 107IST, the Timbers Army, and the Rose City Riveters.  Around the edges of the coin are the mission of the 107IST, along with some of the many things 107IST members do.

If you are a local member, check your packet for the voucher with the picture of a challenge coin on it. Bring that voucher to the Fanladen during office hours (usually Wednesday nights 6:30-8:30) or on match days before home matches. You can exchange the voucher for your own challenge coin.

We know we aren't the first supporters group to create a challenge coin. Heck, we aren't even the first Timbers Army people to do so. We have both Eastern Bloc & TA:CO (Timbers Army:Covert Ops) challenge coins on display at the Fanladen, for example. But we thought these would be a wonderful way to commemorate the work you support with your membership, as well as a reminder of what we're all about.

No, we don't have any dictates about "rules" for coin checks. As with most other things we do, we're sure that people will come up with their own variations. As a 107IST member in 2017, enjoy your challenge coin as a reminder of what your membership supports. Whether it's tifo and other game day operations, community outreach, or any of the activities associated with our core mission, your membership in 107IST supports Team, Town, and TA/Riveters: supporting soccer in and around Portland, Oregon, from the grassroots to the highest professional level.


  • 30 Jan 2017 9:55 PM | Anonymous
    I think that's an Eastern Bloc Challenge Coin on display, not East Coast Platoon. Unless they have one too, which is awesome!! :)
    Link  •  Reply
    • 30 Jan 2017 9:56 PM | Anonymous
      Great article btw!
      Link  •  Reply
    • 31 Jan 2017 11:15 AM | Anonymous
      Fixed, thanks!
      Link  •  Reply
  • 01 Feb 2017 7:08 PM | Jason Lambert
    This was really well explained, thank you and good job on the coins to the 107ist.
    Link  •  Reply

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software