In just two years of existence, Providence City FC has sent waves through the grassroots soccer community with its unique playing style, team structure, and eye-catching kit.
With a diverse, family-like atmosphere, Providence City FC is not your average amateur soccer club. A creative mindset both on and off the pitch has led to success for the up-and-coming club in Boston’s Bay State Soccer League.
The team was founded in 2015, but its roots go back to 2010, when co-founders Tristan Lewis and Jason Rego were playing for East Providence Sports, an elite Portuguese amateur club in Rhode Island. After the league it played in folded, the team merged with AC Milan (not that AC Milan), a local indoor team, to form Providence City FC.
Though the league is mostly based in the Boston greater area, Providence City puts on for its state of Rhode Island, and plays its matches on the campus of Brown University.
At a population of just under 180,000, the city of Providence wouldn’t strike you as an extremely diverse city on its surface. However, the capital of the nation’s smallest state is overflowing with countless cultures from all over the world. Providence City FC has embraced this diversity both through its roster and playing style.
“Most of us are either immigrants or come from immigrant parents,” Rego said. “We come from soccer cultures. The team’s filled with players who are Portuguese, Cape Verdean, Colombian, Mexican, and more.”
The club’s international makeup has a big influence on its style of play, which is distinctly non-American.
“It is a must to keep the ball on the ground, and moving off the ball at all times,” Rego said. “Both our left back and right back attack when we possess the ball. We prefer the ball at our feet.”
While Providence City FC is comprised of various backgrounds, it’s been easy for them to cultivate a family atmosphere with the way the club is structured. Many of the players on the pitch have enormous responsibilities off the pitch in the day-today operations of the club.
Rego, a left back, is the club’s assistant manager, social media manager, and treasurer. Matt Lee, a center back, handles field logistics and is the point of contact for leagues. Lewis plays for and runs Providence City AFC, the club’s second team. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Various other players have administrative roles with the club as well, from designing team apparel to producing photo and video content.
“It keeps the camaraderie high,” Rego said. “We love to hang on and off the pitch. Training, games, and nights out.”
The club also tries to extend the family atmosphere into the community, often frequenting restaurant sponsors to support their business. In addition, The Rogues plan on collaborating with local designers for their upcoming kits.
“We plan on teaming up with local designer Manuel Cordeiro of Designer 151 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island who did work for Bowery FC and worked for Puma for a bit,” Rego said. “Hopefully in the future we can collaborate with Rhode Island School of Design students as well.”
The club could only hope that their next kits will be as fresh as their current ones. With a sky blue colorway reminiscent of Manchester City, the Providence City FC “Ocean State” kits in collaboration with lowsocks creative and Joma were an instant hit and sold out instantly.
Its nautical influence is a nod to the Rhode Island flag, and with the help of lowsocks creative — the creative studio behind Guerrilla FC’s stunning new kits — Rego and the team created a kit that not only looked good but stayed true to their roots.
Representing the community is something the club takes very seriously, and it supports Project Goal, a local after school program focused on serving underprivileged youth through academic and soccer programs.
“We initially started by fundraising for them to open up the relationship,” Rego said. “We are looking to incorporate players that grew up through the program. Also, we want to give back and help out with their training sessions in the near future. We love what the program does for the local community and want to make sure we can play some sort of role in it.”
In addition to creating successful relationships with the community, Providence City has had its fair share of success on the pitch. It won the third division of the BSSL and will be promoted to division two for next season, in addition to winning a trophy in the FA 1 Summer League.
With so much success early on, the club has its sights set on a few lofty yet attainable goals. Short term, they would like to have a team in the first division of the BSSL as well as participate in the U.S. Amateur Cup and possibly even the U.S. Open Cup. Long term, the club would like to achieve professional status and represent Providence, Rhode Island in the highest division of American soccer. While that seems like a long shot, you can never rule out anyone that consistently thinks out of the box.