Written by Joel Ducey
In a sports economy where heavyweights in the United States and abroad are struggling to keep their heads above water financially, one amateur football club in Providence, RI could teach a fair few juggernauts a lesson or two about using the tools at one’s disposal. In this covid19 ravaged world, we’ve all had to learn to operate a little bit more on the lean side. Providence City has been doing this since their conception.
Jason Rego works by day for CVS corporate, and also by day AND night revitalizing the soccerscape in the greater Providence region. Since 2015 Rego has been a one-man wrecking ball, completely changing the way traditional soccer clubs are formed, funded, and operated. He doesn’t want the posh footballers with the technical skills that come and go as frequently as new boot silos from Nike. He wants ballers. True organic talent. The kind of flavor that can only be found in the margins. The stuff you can’t buy on soccer.com or in a specialty shop – the stuff between the ears.
The reason? As Rego himself says, “a lot of times the most talented players in his area don’t come from the best financial means”. Rego, who has been formatively shaped by the game through his upbringing as a Portuguese American (and D1 player), is committed to his on the field product. So to mitigate the financial barriers that operating a club so frequently are accompanied with, Rego developed a unique strategy…a strategy we are now seeing seep into the professional club landscape.
He is leveraging his off the field product to sustain and amplify his on the pitch performance. He puts a heavy onus on his marketing and design, and when I say he… I mean he. Jason is incredibly hands on, involved in every stage of the process for PCFC. He drives merch sales through unique and topical designs, often featuring local fixtures/establishments that touch on the core sensitivities of the Providence community (peep that Jaws jersey).
Except, it’s not just the local community who has taken notice. Rego just gets it. Those of us in tune with the sport have noticed as well. His club has become so popular, that often people forget they are not YET operating as a professional club. “That’s only a matter of time though,” says Rego.
Providence City has been making waves all over, with coverage ranging from Copa90 to BBC to local media outlets. On the merch side, Classic Football Shirts (Yes, the most famous football site IN THE WORLD) actively seek out their kits to sell on a global scale. Again, this is an AMATEUR TEAM.
Brick and Mortar stores have started to carry the Providence City kits, including national soccer chain “We Got Soccer” – a nearly unprecedented trend in soccer merchandising. All of this has been achieved through minimal to no investment, guerilla marketing, key influencer targeting, and what Rego himself likes to call “…a little bit of the human touch”.
With the latest jersey dropping last week, titled “Treat yo’ self” and featuring yet another immaculate design. Bespeckled sprinkles adorn the pastel pink base centered around an absolutely glorious PV Donuts logo, accentuated by a lovely patina green bottom featuring a “long tee” type back for optimal playing AND lounging comfort, it seems as though again PCFC has hit a home run. This jersey is surely to have you craving something sweet.
Already Providence City FC has seen their merch reach the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, UK, USA.
The last release by Providence City FC, the “Goodnight Lights” kit garnered such praise as to receive a customized Nike Boot to match. One thing is for certain, when Providence City FC go in on something for Merch, they go hard. And they don’t miss. Remember the name, because they won’t be an “amateur” team for much longer.