Nomad

Noon on a Monday.

 Posted by on September 28, 2016  Editorial, Players  No Responses »
Sep 282016
 
The 2016 NWSL Shield winners arrive home to begin preparations for the first home playoff game in Thorns franchise history.

When people ask me about the differences in supporting the Timbers and the Thorns, I give complicated answers about the different fan bases and supporters groups, and the intersections and overlaps of the two, and demographics and visibility and growth and whatnot.

But then I find myself at the airport just after noon on a Monday to greet a team who’s just won a league Shield and I forget all those things.

It’s not about the number of butts in seats. It’s not about who sells how many jerseys. It’s not even about that Shield.

It’s about support.

We will be there, win or lose. We will be there, rain or shine. We will be there.

There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 of us at PDX Monday afternoon to greet the team as they arrived home as 2016’s NWSL Shield winners. They looked tired from their travels, but happy to be home, and ready to get to work preparing for Sunday’s playoff match, the first home playoff match for the Thorns in franchise history.

The 2016 NWSL Shield winners arrive home to begin preparations for the first home playoff game in Thorns franchise history.

The 2016 NWSL Shield winners arrive home to begin preparations for the first home playoff game in team history.

There in the picture, among stalwart supporters and national team members, is one of the littlest Riveters, Harper. She’s new to us, but to me, she represents future generations of players and supporters.

She wore sparkly shoes to the last home match. She sat on her dad’s shoulders and waved a flag as the team came off the field. She’s one of us. She’s all of us. She’s just a tad shorter. But someday, she’ll kick a ball on that field or design tifo that’s raised in the stands. Next level, next generation support.

Next-gen Riveter Harper.

Next-gen Riveter Harper.

Last we checked, there were still a few tickets left for Sunday’s match. Go get them. Bring a friend.

Start thinking about what possible excuses you can give your boss should the need for another airport greeting arise.

A travel guide of sorts

 Posted by on September 13, 2015  Away Travel  1 Response »
Sep 132015
 

Consider this your formal invitation to come to Portland for the NWSL Championship final.

Portland is a pretty simple city for travelers. If you’re flying in just for a few days for the game, you don’t even need to rent a car. Providence Park (1844 SW Morrison) is conveniently located just a few blocks from the center of the city and is easily accessible by public transportation. Both the MAX light rail red and blue lines stop literally across the street and many bus lines have stops within a couple hundred yards of the gates. You can find a public transportation trip planner at Trimet.org.  Trimet also offers a pretty handy app that lets you purchase your fare using a smart phone. A full day pass is $5 and will get you anywhere you need to go.

If you’re planning on driving to the stadium on game day, please note: there’s no parking lot. Parking is at a premium in the area with very few pay lots close by. Leave your car at the hotel/Air BnB or whatever and hop on a bus or train, or look for a Smart Park Garage in downtown. If you park after 5 p.m., it, too, is only $5 and several SP garages are close to the light rail lines.

There are lots of good hotels in the downtown core area, though they cater primarily to business travelers and aren’t cheap.

Random screen capture of a Google map. Thanks, Google!

Random screen capture of a Google map. Thanks, Google!

The Park Lane Suites and Hotel Deluxe are within lazy-people-walking-distance from ProPark, the big beige square on the left. This screen capture shows rates pulled from Google as of 9/13/15. They will likely change a dozen times over the next couple weeks. When searching for a hotel, you might also consider the Lloyd Center/Convention Center area. Most have on-site parking and are close to MAX light rail stops. Airport hotels may have lower rates as well, but be aware that rush hour traffic will be between you and the stadium on game day. Forgo the rental car and put that money into the higher-priced downtown hotel.

However, if you’re in town for the weekend, maybe pick up a car to get out of town and see some of the great Pacific Northwest. Mt. Hood and historic Timberline Lodge are roughly an hour’s drive to the east; Seaside, Canon Beach, and Astoria (where The Goonies was filmed*) are a bit more than an hour west.

Or, just stay in town. Portland is home to a significant food cart culture, dozens of breweries, tons of museums and galleries, and a bazillion things to do. Some things to check out:

Portland is home to what might be the only bar in the world dedicated to women’s soccer.

Take a tour of the downtown area and get to know the area with Portland Walking Tours.

We’ve got art!

You like werewolves? We’ve got those, too.

And, in case we hadn’t mentioned it before, we’re the City of Roses.

But you’re here for the soccer, aren’t you? Stick around and check out the University of Portland women’s team October 3 at Merlo Field. For many of us, women’s soccer begins with memories of the legendary Clive Charles. His legacy cannot be discounted.

 

Okay, so there’s your starting point for your NWSL Championship trip to Portland. We’ll update as we get closer and are looking forward to meeting all of you. Look for a Game Day Info post as we get closer to October 1st.
*When talking about travel to Oregon, it’s required that we mention where The Goonies was filmed.

Let’s Dance.

 Posted by on September 8, 2015  Tifo  1 Response »
Sep 082015
 

I’ve been watching from a safe distance for months as the tifo crew went through the planning and testing and adjusting process for the end-of-season display. They are an intrepid group, a group that works harder than most will ever know.

Any late interest in Plan F: Rent a big disco ball and have it light up the rafters?

Ideas were proposed, discussed, changed, scrapped, reborn. There was an elaborate contraption made of pvc and connectors, a weather balloon, strings of LED lights that went unused.

Learned an unhappy lesson this afternoon – trim your fingernails before inflating a weather balloon.

Trial and error, opportunities for learning and laughing and growing and groaning. Brilliant 2 a.m. ideas faded in the light of morning and were replaced by even more brilliant ideas. People floated in and out of the discussion and then, at long last, fabric was laid out and paint brushes taken up and a beautiful thing happened.

Let's Dance: the 2015 end of season display. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wong and ProstAmerika.

Let’s Dance: the 2015 end of season display. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wong and ProstAmerika.

Simple and elegant, it said so many things. By the time it was raised, the Thorns were already outside of the playoff picture but, despite a disappointing season, we still saw them as the Belles of the Ball.

They are the reason we do what we do. They are why we show up en masse. They are the catalyst for the magic that happens in the sometimes indecipherable minds of the tifo crew.

Is helium actually a need?

I look at the work that’s created by this group of folks and I know just how lucky we are to have them. Working with materials that have been salvaged from previous displays and often donating materials they’ve gathered, they create short-lived works of art for the express purpose of delivering a message to the players on the field and, perhaps to a greater extent, the world.

We support you, our beloved Thorns. We know this season did not go according to plan, but we’re still here. Let’s dance.

 

Aug 282015
 

Okay. This is it. Last home match of the season.

The season hasn’t gone the way we’d have planned it, but here we are anyway. We’ve got one more chance to show our Thorns that we support them regardless of the result.

It’s a big day. Be on time. Don’t traipse in five minutes to kick-off. Bring your A-game. Also, maybe bring some rain gear.

We’ve got two Thorns retiring at the end of this season: Rachel Van Hollebeke and Nadine Angerer. We know the team plans to honor both pre-match, but why not don a jaunty hat for Nadine and maybe some scrubs for Rachel, who’s off to medical school any minute now? They’ve both been stalwart for both the Thorns and for their national teams and they will be greatly missed in the soccering world.

BUY YOUR CAPO A PINT. Actually, don’t. But do kick in a few bucks (those few bucks you would have spent on that pint) to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. We’ll be passing buckets around for cash donations, but you can also go here and donate online. Summer session tuition this year was $400 per camper. We’d love to be able to sponsor one camper for each of our capos and drum corps members next summer.

RIVETERS PLAYER OF THE YEAR. We’ve got the trophy and we’ll be presenting it to our winner at the close of the match. We know you guys stick around anyway, but encourage your neighbors to do the same. All our players deserve recognition, but the winner has gone above and beyond this year.

As always, we’ll be at Fanladen pre-match with t-shirts, scarves and assorted whatnot, as well as 107ist membership services and ticket exchange. If you’ve got a spare ticket you won’t be using, you can donate it to the tifo fund by transferring it to ticketdonation@rosecityriveters.org. We’ve got a pretty fantastic tifo crew and we want to make sure their efforts are well-funded as we look toward the planning of the 2016 season.

Aug 262015
 

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I posted a version of this last night on my personal blog. It’s my opinion, not the opinion of the Riveters as an organization (is there ever an opinion that covers all of us?).

The 2015 NWSL Championship will be held in our city, Soccer City, USA, and, in all likelihood, it will feature two teams not from Portland.

So, what happens here? I know there are some loyal Thorns fans who won’t be there if their team isn’t there to support. That’s fine. There are some who will be up on the Bluff, taking in the University of Portland match at Merlo. Nothing wrong with that, either.

I’ll be at Providence Park. I think it’s important to support a league still in its infancy, so I’ll buy a ticket and show up. I won’t be waving a flag and, unless someone comes up with something strikingly clever, I’ll probably stop singing after the anthem. I will cheer players who do well and I will congratulate the winning team.

People are discussing what role, if any, the Riveters should play. Should we take this as an opportunity to express our displeasure with the league, our coach, our underperforming players, with…what, exactly? Do we use it to elevate the other supporters groups in the league? Or maybe just those whose teams are still playing October 1st? There’s no true consensus.

A couple of us talked a day or two ago about taking up residence in section 223 for the Championship game. Visitors in our own home.

But meh. Let’s go to the South Deck. It’s nice to have a change of scenery once in a while.

Aug 232015
 

With just a week to go before our final regular season home match, we’re launching BYCAP.

What’s BYCAP?

At the end of the year, folks get this wild idea that, out of admiration and/or gratitude, they should buy the capos a pint. This is a really great idea but, honestly, there’s no way they can drink that much and still remain functional through the game.

Instead, they’d like to funnel the money that would be used to buy them pints back into the community through a donation to the Rock & Roll Camp for Girls. Summer camp tuition this year was $400 per student. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could cover tuition for at least one student for each of our capos and drummers?

We’ll be passing buckets pre-match on Sunday (not necessarily on Sunday the capo, though she’ll *have* a bucket you can drop cash into) or you can donate by clicking here.

 

Aug 132015
 

Hey, all. It’s that time again. As we approach our final regular season home match of the year, we’re thinking back over the contributions made by each of our players. The Riveters Player of the Year will be honored August 30 at Providence Park.

The survey is set to only accept one response from each computer so please discuss with family/roommates/opinionated pets before you make your choice. The poll will close Sunday, August 23rd at 6 p.m. (assuming I clicked all the right buttons and checked all the right boxes).

Click here to access the survey.

Seattle Away updates

 Posted by on July 25, 2015  Uncategorized  No Responses »
Jul 252015
 

HEY. READ THIS.

We’re roughly 26 hours from bus departure from the Moda Center. The bus will leave at 10:45 a.m.. This does not mean you should arrive at Moda at 10:45 a.m.. This means you should arrive there with enough time to gather your stuff, collect your ticket, share your donuts with friends and be safely tucked in ON THE BUS by 10:45 a.m..

Your bus captain will brief you on the dos and don’ts of Seattle Away, but here are just a couple things to remember before getting on the bus:
You may bring your own food and beverages, but NO GLASS OF ANY KIND, please.
You can leave your belongings on the bus during the match. Buses will be secured or the driver will stay on board.
The toilets get full pretty quickly so pace yourselves. And no #2s.
Bring a few dollars to tip your bus driver. They deserve it.

Please drink responsibly and make sure the others on your bus do, as well. When you travel on the road with us, you represent Portland, Portland Thorns FC, Rose City Riveters, and 107ist. If you are deemed too drunk to enter the stadium, you could find yourself staying on the bus and missing the match.

If you’re meeting us in Seattle, the time and meeting place have changed. Please meet the group at 2 p.m. at the Harrison St. entrance. This is especially important if you have flags or banners. You may enter the stadium separately from the group, but you cannot bring in flags/banners separately and entering as a group is really the only way we can ensure we’ll be able to sit together.

Any fan deemed to be conducting him/herself inappropriately may be subject to ejection from the match. Stadium staff reserve the right to escort any fan from the stadium should their conduct be deemed inappropriate and/or unsafe.

Have fun, have a safe trip, don’t be *that guy*. See you at Memorial.

Where every game means the world.

 Posted by on April 12, 2015  Tifo  2 Responses »
Apr 122015
 

Okay, so I’ll just get this out of the way: Allie Long made me cry.

It’s happened before. Vero made me cry more than once last year. Her passion for the game, her disappointment at losses, her love for the fans: her outward expression of these things brought tears from me regularly. Alex Morgan made me cry once when she herself was nearly in tears over the frustration she felt in herself over a less-than-stellar performance coming off an injury. There are pictures of Mana Shim in tears after a hard loss last year that invoke the No One Ever Cries Alone clause in my emotional contract with society at large.

But I didn’t expect it from Allie.

“I’ve said it a million times: my goal is to go to the World Cup or the Olympics so I’m just striving to keep improving and keep getting better,” she told the assembled media post-match.”The NWSL means everything. It’s all that I have to grow and get better each day, to achieve what I want for myself and the team.”

The NWSL means everything.

Listening to her answer questions about being one of the players expected to be in Portland for the full season rather than being called in to World Cup play, it was hard not to wonder how much that hurts. I think there’s still a part of her that believes there’s still a chance she’ll find herself in Canada this summer. And, in my humble and very biased opinion, I think she deserves to be there.

But the reality is this: it might take a lot of stars aligning to get her there.

And that, dear friends, was the point of the tifo.

I saw a fair few people post on Twitter and Facebook about how tonight’s tifo was a tribute to the players who will be playing in the World Cup this year. Well, sure, but it was more than that.

It was a tribute to those players who come from all over the world to play here, to play for us. It was a tribute to those players who pull on a Thorns shirt and play for the love of the club and have no aspiration to play for a national team. It was a tribute to those players who’ve had their shot at international play but won’t make the final roster heading into the World Cup.

Because here, in Portland, in Soccer City, USA, every match means the world.

Where every game means the world - Rose City Riveters tifo for Thorns v. Breakers, 04/11/15 - Photo courtesy of Ray Terrill.

Where every game means the world – Rose City Riveters tifo for Thorns v. Breakers, 04/11/15 – Photo courtesy of Ray Terrill.

There are dozens of little stories that could be told about the making of this tribute to our players: a last minute change of production venue when the first layers of paint weren’t yet dry that caused new swear words to be created; the hours and hours of work by dozens of volunteers who abandoned their families, their work, their friends and their normal lives; the absolute, collective refusal to let it be anything short of perfect. And those are the stories you’ll be a part of when you answer the next call for volunteers.

 

Apr 112015
 

It’s here. It’s finally here. It’s game day.

As per the Thorns game alert email, gates tonight are at 6 p.m. with kick at 7:07. Fanladen (1633 SW Alder) will open at 4:30 p.m. for ticket exchange, merch sales, 107ist membership sign-ups and renewals, and general merriment.

If you have spare tickets you’re not using, you can donate them to the Riveters by transferring them to ticketdonation@rosecityriveters.org. If you’re looking for a ticket, we’ll sell you one of those donated ones at face value and that money will go toward tifo and community projects. Last year, some of the proceeds of ticket sales went to the Jefferson Field project.

We’ve got a new shirt going on sale today. It’s a super-limited run. I sincerely mean it when I say “super-limited.” If you want one, you’ll need to come to Fanladen and you’ll need to do it early.

In stadium, we’ll again try to concentrate on getting all our most vocal Thorns supporters into sections 106, 107, and 108. Concentrated effort = greater volume = greater impact on the atmosphere. Learn the chants. Sing the chants. Support our Thorns. And please, especially today, be ready to go before the anthem. We need you all there. The Thorns need you all there.

***

Other stuff:

April 18: Following the match, the Portland chapter of American Outlaws is hosting an event previewing the Womens World Cup and featuring Thorns Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Rachel Van Holleke and Allie Long. Tickets are available through their Facebook page or at the AOPDX online store.  You don’t need to be a member to purchase tickets and proceeds benefit FC West. Let’s send them to nationals!. Go, go, go!

April 30: The 107ist is hosting the US premiere of “Jack to a King” at Cinema 21 with proceeds going to the Cinema 21 refurbishment and to the Jefferson Field resurfacing project. Tickets are available here.

 

And don’t forget the Oregon Humane Society’s #BiscuitChallenge. We’ve already seen a few Riveters post their videos. Will you be next?