PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Breeze Airways has signed a multi-year agreement to be the front-of-jersey sponsor for Rhode Island FC, the Ocean State’s professional soccer team, the team announced Monday.
The club unveiled its new jersey at a press conference at the airport on Monday, and later held a “full kit reveal” for super fans at The Guild in Pawtucket. In a surprise announcement during the kit reveal, Rhode Island FC introduced Jerome ‘JJ’ Williams as the club’s first striker.
Williams joins Rhode Island FC from the Tampa Bay Rowdies, pending league and federation approval. He has previously played with MLS and USL Championship clubs including Atlanta United, Columbus Crew, and Birmingham Legion.
“It is an incredible feeling to join Rhode Island FC on such an exciting day for the club. Meeting Rhode Island FC fans tonight at the kit reveal made me even more excited to start working alongside my Rhode Island FC teammates to make our inaugural season one that all of Rhode Island can be proud of,” Williams said in a press release.
“JJ has showcased throughout his time in the USL Championship that he is capable of scoring goals in key moments, making him a valuable addition to our growing roster,” said Khano Smith, head coach and general manager of Rhode Island FC. “JJ is a goal threat whenever he is on the pitch and will provide a point of reference for our attack.”
At the Guild, fans inspected the new Rhode Island FC home and away kits. A line quickly formed at the merchandise table.
“I am deeply thankful to the team at Breeze, at the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, and Visit Rhode Island for working with us on this landmark partnership,” said Rhode Island FC Founder and Chairman Brett Johnson in a press release. “From the very beginning, we promised to be a club for all Rhode Island. I am proud that our team and our players will serve as ambassadors for the Ocean State.”
Rhode Island dark blue FC’s home jersey features the Breeze Airways branding surrounded by lightning bolts — a nod to the soccer team’s branding. It’s being called the “Energy Jersey,” the club said in an announcement. The orange away kit, known as “The Rhode Kit,” features the names of all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island.
Centreville Bank has sponsored the right sleeve of the jersey, and Rhode Island Energy is the upper back-of-jersey sponsor.
As part of the new, multi-year sponsorship agreement, Breeze Airways, which recently started flying out of Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport, will also serve as the soccer team’s exclusive airline partner.
“As big fans of both soccer and Rhode Island, we have been waiting with bated breath for today’s reveal,” said Breeze Airways President Tom Doxey. “We’re so proud of our new partnership with Rhode Island FC and seeing the Breeze logo on our very first sports jersey.”
“Breeze Airways is an important and growing brand in Rhode Island and it is fitting that they will be connected with our state’s only independent professional sports team. It’s truly a winning combination that will promote tourism and everything our great state offers,” said Governor Dan McKee.
Rhode Island FC will make its USL Championship debut in March 2024. Home games will be played at Beirne Stadium at Bryant University while construction on the stadium at Tidewater Landing is completed.