When I was younger, women’s sports were merely an afterthought to the men’s games. Even when the US Women’s National Team won the World Cup in 1999, it didn’t get nearly as much coverage as it should and would have if it were the men’s team. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Women are ever-growing one step closer to equality with their male counterparts. Led by years of superb play and advocacy by the national team, the sport in this country is finally on a near-level playing field. And that’s why it’s so exciting to announce the formation of Flower City 1872, a new women’s soccer team in the city.
It’s impossible to live in the Rochester area and not learn of its abolitionist and suffragist history. Perhaps the most famous names in these areas are Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. In 1872, when voting for women was illegal, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for “knowingly and unlawfully” casting a ballot in her hometown of Rochester. It is one of the most famous moments in the campaign for equal rights for women, and it is this tie to the city where Flower City 1872 takes its name.
According to the Flower City Union website, one of the things they strive to do as a club is to “actively embrace diversity and aim to reflect back the faces and voices of our region”. It seems as if a women’s team is the next logical step in this goal. As with the Flower City name coming from the nickname of the city, as well as the colors reflecting Rochester’s lilac flowers, 1872 brings in one of the most important dates in American women’s history. This club is striving to be important to the community, and all their branding does its best to reflect that. As the speech today stated, their goals are to “always remember [our] roots are in Rochester” and they “wish to serve as an example to all the young girls in this city”.
There really could not have been a better place to announce this new team than on the steps of Susan B. Anthony’s house. The presentation began by talking about the history, and memories of women’s soccer in the city. It’s refreshing that they aren’t just announcing a new team. They’re announcing something they believe in and want to tie it to the history of our city. They stated they “want to continue the women’s game in a newer, fresher, and more influential way”. While teams like the WNY Flash and Lady Lancers did their part in the history of the sport here, it’s great to see someone else is picking up the torch to continue that legacy.
All the specifics have not yet been announced, but there was enough to tide us over. The home opener will be at the downtown stadium on May 13, 2023, the same date as the men’s opener. A majority of games will be played just prior to the men’s games, so you can go for a doubleheader. They will be playing in the United Women’s Soccer League, and they’ll be announcing players and dates in the upcoming weeks on their social media. Today at 2 pm they relaunched their fan ownership campaign to include ownership in the women’s team as well.
This announcement comes at a perfect time. For one, having a women’s team is just common sense. If the men’s team is entering their second season, it’s also great to tie the teams together, to get people to come down early for the women and stay for the men. But also, the US Women’s team recently retained their top spot, and FIFA announced this year’s Women’s World Cup will have a 300% larger prize pool than the last one. While the women’s game isn’t quite on the same footing as the men’s, thankfully it’s getting closer, and I’m glad our city can be a part of that.