Recently, some website--a site we're not going to bother to link to--referred to Lowell as a "ghetto" city, one of the most ghetto in Massachusetts, in fact. If you're from Lowell or live there, you've probably heard it all before. And while being "ghetto" shouldn't necessarily be assumed to be something negative, we're quite sure that the website did not intend to flatter the city. The article was a nasty dig.
Over the course of the last four years, GLUFC has faced some challenges, to say the least. Back when we only had a semi-pro men's team, our financial situation was, at times, dire. One night, in an empty ballroom at the Portuguese American Center in Lowell, a couple of guys from the North Shore offered to buy the club ... with the condition that they could eventually move it to someplace like Beverly or Ipswich.
With no disrespect intended to those places (nor to our would-be buyers), we said no. Emphatically. We needed the money, and we weren't sure back then how we were going to survive. But we knew one thing: if we were going to exist, we were going to exist in Lowell and not anywhere else.
Why Lowell? Because it's home. And because we believe in Lowell, and we love it. We know the people in the city are genuine, hard-working and honest. We also know that a lot of people outside the Greater Lowell area look down on Lowell and surrounding towns and on the folks who live there. And we want to do everything we can to change that.
We run a club that makes enough money to keep going, not one that rakes in cash. We operate that way because we want to give as many kids as possible the opportunity to develop as footballers--soccer players--no matter their backgrounds or circumstances. We know that Lowell is a city rich in history and culture but not often one that's just plain rich, so we make our club affordable and approachable to a wide range of kids. No other local club takes that approach.
Lowell is home for us because no place else ever could be. We want, above all else, to develop soccer players. But we also want to instill a sense of pride in every kid who plays on one of our teams. When a kid pulls on our shirt, he or she represents Lowell, even if the kid might live in Chelmsford or Tyngsborough. We put the word "Lowell" right on our badge for a reason: because we want our players and parents to be proud of their city and to represent it with dignity and grace, which they always do.
Win, lose or draw, Greater Lowell United is proud to deliver a message from Lowell to the rest of Massachusetts, New England and the world: we're proud of where we're from; we're strong both physically and mentally, and we're here to defy negative expectations and disprove the notion that Lowell is somehow less than some other city or town.
In fact, we believe that Lowell is Greater than just about anyplace else, which is why we teach our kids to Be Greater both on and off the pitch and to show the world what it really means to be from Lowell. We believe in the potential of every kid who plays for our club, and we believe in doing everything we can to make Lowell an even better place to live than it already is. If that's "ghetto," then that's OK with us.
These days, GLUFC is thriving. Our days of struggling financially are over, and while we don't turn a huge profit by any means, we're a stable organization. More importantly, we're getting more and more kids involved with our club. Our numbers are growing like crazy. We're adding teams and competitions with every passing season. And we're doing it in the only place we'd ever want to do it, the only place we ever will do it: right here in Lowell and the Greater Lowell area.
Together, we can be stronger than the critics and rise above the haters. Together, we can ... Be Greater, Be United!