Portland, Oregon’s Rose City Riveters is the largest independent organized supporters group for a women’s soccer team in the world. They support Portland Thorns with an organized, expressive and organic performance of songs, musical instruments and displays that envelopes the entire stadium. Utilizing ethnographic subject-centred methods, this empirical study argues that the group’s performance reflects two different performance lineages, organically organized transnational soccer fandom on one hand and disidentifying queer public performance on the other. This paper explores how different elements of these lineages overlap in the Riveters’ performance to disrupt, negotiate and resist the dominant ideologies of hyper- masculinity and heteronormative femininity that shape professional soccer in the United States.
Building on the context outlined in Stuart Hall’s “The Neoliberal Revolution (2011),” we show how transformations in commodified football in 1980s and 1990s England did not merely reflect larger trends, but were a central site of political innovation constitutive of the country’s larger cultural shifts.