The “Rogues” of Providence City FC, an amateur men’s soccer club, are raising the standard for post-collegiate athletics across the state. Representing Cape Verde, Portugal, Scotland, Wales, Mexico and Colombia, as well as Smithfield, East Providence, Lincoln and more, these former college athletes are battling to put soccer at the heart of the economic and cultural rebirth of Providence.
Already in shooting range of topping the Bay State Soccer League, a competitive men’s league based out of Massachusetts, the team’s leadership is not shy about its desire to become Rhode Island’s first semi-professional club one day. Though that goal may be several years off, Jason Rego, a first-generation Portuguese-American born and raised in East Providence, understands that Providence City FC is not your average “beer-league” men’s soccer team.
“We’re all invested in Rhode Island. We’re in it for the long run,” says Jason. Almost every player lives in Rhode Island, and the team has already attracted heavyweights of the local scene to sponsor new jerseys and field time, including Rogue Island Local Kitchen & Bar, the East Providence Yacht Club, El Rancho Grande and the Hot Club.
Matt Lee, a Lincoln native who currently works in the Brown University Athletics Department and serves as the on-field captain of the team, credits these sponsorships with helping the team to overcome the growing pains, and expenses, of running a young club. Securing field space for practices and games can cost hundreds of dollars a week, and local regulations do not always encourage outsiders to make the effort.
But with more than 100 fans turning out to its biggest matches, the “Rogues” are also giving back. Whether that means celebrating a hard-fought win at East Providence Yacht Club or leading a bar crawl through downtown on an off-night, the Rogues manage to bridge their ambitious dual mission “to promote local business and grow the structure of soccer for RI.”
With a talented roster and strong ties to a wide variety of local communities and businesses, Providence City FC has cemented a base with the potential to grow into a force that can compete with the best in the Bay State and any other team across the Northeast.
Soccer may still be a young sport in the U.S., but the “Rogues” are helping Rhode Island to define it.