Jennifer and Matthew Roy with their six-year-old daughter, Lyric, are known for supporting local professional sports. As season tickets holders for the last 2 season seasons they have not missed a game. This Q&A discusses the impact of the Rochester Rhinos to their family and most importantly Lyric with the bond she has developed the players.
When did you become season ticket holders?
Jennifer: We started coming to Rhinos games 2 years ago and bought season tickets last year.
What has been the impact of being season ticket holders?
Matthew: The impact of being a season ticket holder has given us an event that we can go to as a family. With our daughter, we plan out the season's games and Lyric makes it a point to know when the games are on TV so that we can watch them when they are away.
Jennifer: Again, she always makes sure the family knows so we can watch or attend together.
How and why has Lyric created friendships with the players?
Jennifer: Relationships with the players started as high fives at warm-ups, pre-game, halftime, and post-game. She also made it a point to visit every player after the game and say hi. She became invested in them when they were playing and would go as far as yelling at the other team when they fouled "one of her guys.”
Matthew: The players’ response to Lyric has been amazing. They always make sure to go out of their way and get that high five and even though they do that with others it makes her feel amazing. For Lyric, as a soccer player, it’s great to have people she can relate the game to when she is playing as well.
Who are Lyric’s favorite players?
Lyric: I would say my favorite is the WHOLE team.
Matthew: Favorites - she would list the entire team like she said, but if she had to pick a few: Jochen Graf, Sammy Edoung-Biyo, Ryan Felix, Wal Fall, Christiano Francios and Ryan James.
What would the impact of the team leaving be on your family?
Jennifer: The impact is the team left would be heartbreaking for us. A few years ago we watched the Western New York Flash leave and if the Rhinos leave that would leave us with no professional soccer in Rochester. On top of that, the relationships with the players and staff would be missed - especially for a 6-year-old who loves the Rhinos.
What would the impact be on Lyric?
Matthew: The impact on Lyric would be great because she LOVES the players and the team. Seeing and getting hugs from Jochen and Sammy at the game and having that interaction as a parent has been amazing to watch. All of the players seem to go out of their way to impact the fans and Lyric would be devastated if the Rhinos did not come back next season. She is already talking about next year and the players she cannot wait to see. In addition, she knows that they are friends with mom and dad on social media and we tell her when they like a photo of her and she lights up.
What is your and Lyric’s favorite things about the rhinos and gameday experience?
Matthew: Gameday experience starts with Lyric the night before because she knows we are going to a game the following day. Her teacher has told us she tells everyone the Rhinos are playing tonight and she is going to see "her boys.” Once at the stadium it is outstanding. The owner of the team is usually walking around and make it a point to say hi and thanks, that does not happen with other teams, the mascot is outstanding and we have to take pictures and the remaining staff always greats with high fives and conversation.
Jennifer: Again, this is a FAMILY event. A great place to go as a family to watch soccer and have a blast. The other important thing for Lyric is the meet and greet with the players after the game. She is down waiting at the 85th minute to make sure she can get out there. The entire team is so open and it really feels like they are extended family. You get to have conversations about the game, injury, and anything else. They are so down to earth and that is amazing for a parent to see athletes that take time with the fans.
Why do you think the community should help the Rhinos?
Matthew: I think the community does not realize what it has with the Rhinos. Rochester is a soccer town and losing the Rhinos would be very impactful. The Rhinos have a long-standing reputation in Rochester and it would be a great loss if the community did not show their support.
Any other things you’d like the community to know?
Matthew: Final thought, I know that one of the major arguments for attendance is the location of the stadium location. We are a family with a young child and have NEVER witnessed anything that would make us think about not coming to a game. What I have found is the people that have an issue with the location have never even been to the stadium. For six dollars you park in the stadium's secure lot and are 40 feet from the entrance. The police have been present long after the game is done and the reality is you are two blocks from Frontier. The new owners have done a great job of putting a team together and making all of the fans feel like they are a part of the team. The Rhinos season ticket is a great value for a family, as well. We already have our tickets reserved for next year and Lyric will be the first one there to high five the guys as they make their way back for next season!