The 107ist is holding the annual elections over the next week. There is a candidate forum on Saturday, November 16th from 1-3pm at the Artists Repertory Theater (SW Morrison & 16th).
The Rose City Riveters is a new supporters group. We thought some members might be new to this process and wanted to stress the importance of the support of the 107ist, as well as why it is important to get involved with the decisions made in the organization. To help convey the importance of voting in the current election cycle if you are already a member and joining/renewing with 107ist in 2014, we’ve asked for feedback from three active Rose City Riveters. Their voices are below.
I joined the effort that eventually became known as Rose City Riveters immediately upon Portland being announced as an NWSL team. My roots of support for women’s soccer are personal and local. My friend Ruth used to offer me her player’s allotment tickets for her University of Portland games. This allowed me to realize what outstanding role models and players the Pilots were – it was easy to connect to and cheer on my friend and her teammates.
When the Thorns were announced as a franchise, I also felt a special responsibility to support the team because of my work as a high school teacher. My students frequently tell me about participating in sports. In order for the girls I teach to have a professional soccer career in the US as a legitimate option, this league *must* be successful.
Having been an outsider of any formal soccer supporters groups in Portland until late last year, the experience of finding conduits for supporting the Thorns has been revealing. I learned there was a real groundswell of support for the team before a game had been played, a player announced, or even a name for the team. It took me a while to learn enough about what the 107ist does and how it operates before I committed to joining, but I am glad I did. The work the organization does, entirely on a volunteer basis, is outstanding. The access to ideas, energy, and funding for support is absolutely essential to what the Rose City Riveters aspire to do in supporting the Thorns, our town, and our community. As such, it is critically important that we elect 107ist board members who align with the stated mission to support soccer at all levels in Portland, especially in regards to this wonderful opportunity for growth.
I’ve been volunteering on game day ops for the TA for a few years. This past year I’ve also gotten pretty heavily involved in helping to create the Rose City Riveters game day experience both at home and on the road, helping however I can with drums, chants, tifo, flags, whatever. I can tell you firsthand that virtually none of what we’ve accomplished could have come about without the support of the 107ist and their commitment to growing soccer in this city.
Having a Riveters liaison to the 107ist board gave us a voice: it let us work directly with both the Timbers Army and the Timbers/Thorns FO to take advantage of relationships and processes already in place, and it gave us access to funds to use on our way to becoming self-sustaining. That is how we got flags, drums, and smoke, and permission to store and use them in Jeld-Wen. That is how we got shared space, materials, and additional budget to create tifo for Thorns matches, including the largest tifo display on record for a women’s club team anywhere. That is how we were able to produce scarves, T-shirts, patches, and more. That is how we could afford to print chant and info sheets week after week to get new supporters involved on game day.
All of this is why it’s so important that you, as a Rose City Riveter, familiarize yourself with the current slate of candidates for the 107ist board and cast your vote thoughtfully. If you’re not a member this year, this is why you should join for 2014.
The Riveters did a great job this year, having only a few months to get organized, determine a game plan, then execute those ideas. But our women’s soccer supporters group had a head start on other groups in the NWSL – we had the 107ist supporting every effort we made. From the bus trips to Tukwila where the 107ist fronted the costs of the buses and tickets, to the Superhero tifo at the final where the 107ist paid for the materials and facility.
The Riveters have a great relationship with the Thorns Front Office because we are a part of the 107ist. When we wanted to present our Rose City Riveters Player of the Year with an award (a vase and base paid for by the 107ist), our relationship with the Front Office allowed us on the field after the match to give that award to Karina.
But I want to do more. We have dreams and goals. We want to grow. And we can grow with continued support.
If you’re a paid member of the 107ist, you’re already supporting the Rose City Riveters and the Thorns. We need your continued support. Make sure you get involved in the candidate forum on Saturday and please vote.
Please share your own reasons for supporting the 107ist in the comments. We want to make sure everyone understands the importance of getting involved.