FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The term “supporter” is rooted in loyalty, referring directly to the support a club receives from its most passionate fans, through thick and thin.
But supporters aren’t just loyal to a club, they’re loyal to each other. They’ll support those who’ve supported them, and that allegiance has been borne out in recent weeks as members of the Rebellion came together to provide a boost for some family members in need.
Brass Monkey, an official New England Revolution pub partner based in Providence, R.I., has been the Rebellion’s supporter bar for close to a decade, so when the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to temporarily shut down, putting employees out of work, the Rebellion wanted to step up.
“They’ve been really, really good to us in the past,” said Cory Cloutier, vice president of the Rebellion. “We wanted to give back to them.”
Cloutier is part of the Rebellion’s new Board of Directors, which recently transitioned for the first time in three years, and along with the group’s new president, Michael Simeone, he connected with former president Matthew Puglise in mid-March to gather a bit of advice on best practices.
The concept of helping Brass Monkey employees was first discussed during that call, and eventually the conversation evolved into something even bigger.
“The idea kind of grew from wanting to help [Brass Monkey], to then actually wanting to help the entire Rebellion family,” said Cloutier. “So we decided to not only support our supporter bar, but also support the members who keep us growing and keep us together. We wanted to give back to that community.”
The result was the creation of a GoFundMe page – dubbed “Rebels for a Cause” – designed to raise funds for those in need, whether an employee at Brass Monkey or a Rebellion member. After some preliminary debates as to what kind of monetary goal to establish, they settled on $5,000 not knowing whether that was too lofty an objective.
Ultimately the Rebellion’s decision to aim high was rewarded, as they raised more than $7,000 in three weeks, providing more than $200 apiece for more than 30 individuals in need.
“We’d hit our goal of $5,000 within two weeks,” said Cloutier. “We were flabbergasted. We were actually shocked. We just didn’t understand. That community feeling just felt great.”
That community feeling extended beyond the supporters and to the club itself. Revolution president Brian Bilello made a generous donation, as did players Andrew Farrell and Matt Turner – Farrell donating a remarkable $1,100 from his own Fortnite fundraiser.
For Cloutier, a fan since 1996, seeing that support reciprocated by the Revs only served to strengthen the bond between the supporters and the club.
“Honestly, the Revs were there to support us just like I feel like we’ve always been there to support them, and that feeling felt great,” said Cloutier. “It was insane. It was really, really cool. It was just a bunch of Revolution staff on top of players donated, and we were all just completely taken aback.
“It’s all about family, and the Revolution definitely showed how much they truly cared about the family, so we truly appreciated it.”
The Revs also provided several raffle prizes to entice donations – two sets of VIP match-day experiences and a pair of $50 gift cards to the ProShop – while Cloutier provided his own autographed Teal Bunbury jersey and other Rebellion members offered up tickets from their own allotments.
Cloutier said the Revs have already committed to providing more raffle prizes should the Rebellion choose to hold another round of fundraising, although he added that any additional fundraising efforts wouldn’t be considered for another month or two.
Rebels for a Cause was an unquestioned success, and while the funds raised will provide a bit of economic relief for those in need, the feeling of family and community inspired by the Rebellion’s efforts will perhaps prove just as valuable.
“I don’t think that could’ve come at a better time,” said Cloutier.