Rhode Island FC celebrates the state’s rich football history dating back to the 1800s. The city of Pawtucket contributed to the development of the sport in New England. Some of the best European talent of the day played alongside Americans and new immigrants to the region. Located within walking distance of the future home of Rhode Island FC, championship teams such as J&P Coates FC, the Pawtucket Rangers and the American His Cup-winning Pawtucket Free Wanderers have played in front of crowds of thousands. Rhode Island was also home to the United States’ first professional African-American soccer player. Oliver Watson and Fred Watson played for teams in the Pawtucket area in the late 1800s and his early 1900s. Their home still stands in Pawtucket.
Rhode Island FC is the only professional sports team in the state independently affiliated with Rhode Island. As part of the unveiling of the club’s identity and coat of arms, Rhode Island FC officials and supporters will lead an anchored-in-road tour of Rhode Island. Throughout his day, the club visited schools, libraries, local restaurants, fire stations, and other core community locations in 39 Rhode Island cities and towns to see how the club connects to the state as a whole. I will introduce you to The Rhode Island tour anchorage ends tonight at the Guild of Pawtucket for a “Meet the Guild” party where club merchandise will be on sale.
“Rhode Island is one of the best soccer markets in the country and deserves to have a team to call its own. It’s the only professional team in the state with direct ties to the Rhode Island FC,” said Brett Johnson, co-founder of Rhode Island FC. “With an identity and strong support base from both established and new football fans, we know Rhode Island FC will soon be competing at the highest level of the USL. Our stadium in Pawtucket provides an anchor for civic pride that reaches across the state. Our stadium becomes a community gathering place and our players become neighbors and ambassadors for Rhode Islanders. I can’t wait for opening night.”