The Fall River Marksmen Football Club are promoting Hong Kong Free Press with their new kit design. Available now for US$50 via their website.
Based in Fall River, Massachusetts and founded almost a century ago, the Fall River Marksmen Football Club (FRMFC) was one of the most successful teams in the US during the 1920s and 30s. They won the American Soccer League six times and the National Challenge Cup four times, toured Europe and became known as “The American Menace” for their success. Following their golden era in the early 20th century, the team was revived in 2018.
The Marksmen will now be playing a regional Boston & Providence league with an aim to climb back into the professional divisions ultimately reach the National Independent Soccer League (NISA) or the Championship Division of the United Soccer Leagues (USL). Next year, the team will tour Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the club’s founding – HKFP’s branding will be on their shirts, as they play in London, Tenerife and Porto.
The link up with Hong Kong Free Press was conceived in 2021 under the banner “Divided by oceans, united by football, bound through culture.”
“I’ve always had an affinity for Hong Kong and it’s respective culture that when the time came for the club to seek out potential international partners, Hong Kong was one of the first places I looked into,” FRMFC President Andre’ P. Ruette told HKFP. In October 2019, he travelled to the city to discuss partnerships with Hong Kong Premier League teams, but the meetings were cancelled amid the city-wide pro-democracy protests and unrest.
Upon returning to the US, the team sought to bridge the gap between the two cultures. They linked up with two Hong Kong restaurants to serve the “Fall River Sandwich” – a version of Chow Mein created by Asian immigrants that remains popular in the town. They also were keen to support press freedom and link up with HKFP – Ruette said the news outlet had been “an invaluable source to myself in keeping me attune to the news of Hong Kong and given the recent changes to the landscape of life…”
He said he was “delighted and honoured” to now have HKFP across the new jerseys – “a true sign of the power of football and how it can bridge even the most unlikely of partners.”
In full – the Fall River Marksmen’s Hong Kong connection [click to view]
Our Hong Kong project started off in late 2018 when we began discussions with two Hong Kong Premier League teams with the intentions of setting up a partnership based on exchanging players and expanding the reach of our respective clubs. I’ve always had an affinity for Hong Kong and it’s respective culture that when the time came for the club to seek out potential international partners, Hong Kong was one of the first places I looked into.
In October of 2019 I travelled over to Hong Kong with the purpose of meeting with team executives from two clubs with the hopes of initiating & finalizing a working agreement among ourselves. This also happened to be during the time of heightened tensions within Hong Kong which unfortunately led to the cancellation of both meetings due to the escalation of unrest within Kowloon & Wan Chai. We tried to make additional attempts to meet but unfortunately MTR shutdowns played a key role in foiling our meetings. Regrettably due to a schedule that also had me travelling to Vietnam for talks with another set of clubs our meetings had to be cancelled for another time in the future and unfortunately I returned back to the states without having the pleasure of formalizing plans with either Hong Kong based club.
Fast forward a few months and while eating dinner, the meal that sat before me gave me an epiphany of sorts on how to not only rekindle our reach towards Hong Kong but also build on an initiative we were working on that focused on using the global appeal of football to help bring attention to our city of Fall River. My meal at the time is affectionately known in our area as the “Fall River Sandwich.” It’s a slight deviation from Hong Kong noodles, Chow Mein. Immigrants from the Shenzhen & Hong Kong region dating as far back as the late 1800’s came to Fall River and with them, their culture & delicacies. It was not long after the first wave of immigrants settled into Fall River that the locals began discovering the Chinese & Hong Kong style back door kitchens that catered to the other Asian immigrants. Being Fall River was predominantly populated by immigrant factory workers from Quebec and Western Europe, many were unfamiliar with Chinese cuisine and slightly reluctant to try it and this is where the Fall River sandwich was born. A sandwich bun was placed on top of the Chow Mein, along with specially concocted gravy sauce that further made the dish resemble something more closer to western standards. The dish wound up becoming incredibly popular, it was cheap and filling along with a taste that was unique yet close to home, the meal took off and has to this day remained a popular dish among locals. It was with this in mind and on my plate, that I began looking into how we could promote our shared cultures and link our two cities together. Sport, especially football and its global appeal, along with food are common ground daily staples that this seemed like a great opportunity to potentially link our two cities and our respective communities over a common bond of sport & cuisine.
Luckily it wasn’t long after this epiphany over my meal that our club was able to put together a plan that we hope helps to kick start awareness of each other’s respective cities and our respective cultures. Starting in April there will be two restaurants in Hong Kong that will now begin serving the Fall River Sandwich along with a brief bio on it’s Fall River origins. In addition to this, we also wanted to help bridge the gap between our two cities by bringing the day to day life of Hong Kong to Fall River and New England. This brought us to yourselves, Hong Kong Free Press. You’ve been an invaluable source to myself in keeping me attune to the news of Hong Kong and given the recent changes to the landscape of life, including journalism, that reaching out to yourselves seemed like a no brainer if you will. We couldn’t be more delighted and honoured to now have the HKFP across our jersey’s, a true sign of the power of football and how it can bridge even the most unlikely of partners. In a sign of our support of a free and open press for the people along with our respect to yourselves and the people of Hong Kong, we’ve chosen to donate all of our profits from our jersey sales to yourselves at the Hong Kong Free Press. During these interesting and turbulent times of ours, the need for fair and independent journalism has never been more important, so we’re honoured and proud to help support your independent agency and we hope we can bring more eyes and ears to yourselves & the people of Hong Kong.
– Andre’ P. Ruette Fall River Marksmen FC President.
FRMFC x HKFP shirts are available to pre-order directly from the Marksmen FC website. Manufacturing may take up to five weeks, and international shipping up to two weeks.