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Soccer overwhelmingly becomes the most well-represented sport in the Athlete Ally Ambassador program.
A dozen members of the NASL team Minnesota United FC as well as their head coach and assistant coach have all joined the Athlete Ally Ambassador program.
With the twelve Minnesota players joining Major League Soccer’s Chris Seitz, AJ DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, and Stephen McCarthy, 16 of the 30 athletes in the Ambassador program come from professional soccer, making it by far the number one sport represented.
Minnesota United’s president Nick Rogers (no relation) recently joined the board of Athlete Ally. Founder Hudson Taylor said this of the new additions to the program:
Nick activating 12 of his players in less than a week of joining the advisory board is incredibly impressive. All of these young men have fans of their own, are world-class athletes, and are catalysts for progress among the international soccer community.
Major League Soccer and MLS Works have released the 2013 edition of their “Don’t Cross the Line” PSA campaign with some of the league’s biggest stars participating.
Check it out:
Chris Seitz, A.J. DeLaGarza, and Omar Gonzalez have joined the Athlete Ally program, a nonprofit aimed at encouraging and welcoming LGBT participation in sports. They are the first Major League Soccer players to join.
Seitz, FC Dallas goalkeeper, and DeLaGarza, LA Galaxy defender, were both University of Maryland teammates of Robbie Rogers, the MLS and USMNT alumus who came out last month. Their outstanding freshman class also included Seattle’s Marc Burch and Kansas City’s Graham Zusi. LA defender Gonzalez joined the team a year later, after Rogers left for the Netherlands.
Chris Seitz told AthleteAlly.org:
As an athlete, I’ve learned first hand what leadership means and seen how small actions can make a huge difference. By joining Athlete Ally, I hope my voice will reach gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and remind them that they are welcomed and respected in sports.
Grant Wahl conducted a preseason survey of MLS players and found that an overwhelming majority said a gay soccer player would be accepted in their locker room.
Wahl, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, spoke with 18 players on the condition of anonymity. He specified on Twitter that while anonymous, these players were veterans and some of the best players in the league, “clubhouse leaders [and] thought influencers.”
The specific question he posed was, “Would a gay player be accepted in your team’s locker room?” 17 players said yes. Only one said no.
I really appreciate the anonymity Wahl allowed the players here. I don’t think we would have gotten the answer of “no” with a fear of wanting to appear politically correct. While Major League Soccer would be a great environment for an out player–and I say the best in the US–it shows we aren’t one hundred percent there yet in all corners of the league and we still have some work to do. That honesty is important to the process and a great reminder of the work ahead.
You can check out all the results of Wahl’s survey at si.com.
It appears that Robbie Rogers, alumnus of Leeds United, the Columbus Crew, and the US Men’s National Team, has come out.
From his website:
The Next Chapter…
Things are never what they seem… My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family. In today’s society being different makes you brave. To overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith in your purpose.
For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.
Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud. What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?
Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.
Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.
I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest. Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.
More as this develops…
The banner at the top of the Philadelphia Union website asks, “What do you stand for?” After seeing the club announce a Chick-Fil-A giveaway night this season, it’s a question I have for them.
I have been a Union fan since season one and a Sons of Ben member since season two. When I saw this news from the team I loved this morning, it hit me like an arrow to the heart. It hurt.
Donations from Chick-Fil-A’s charitable foundation to anti-LGBT groups is well documented, and became quite well known last year. Millions were given in 2010, including to an organization identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and to Exodus International, a psychologically damaging “pray the gay away” ministry.
Do I expect every MLS club to check the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index every time they enter into a partnership with a business? Of course not. But the troubling donations by Chick-Fil-A and subsequent backlash were headline news last year with people both protesting and supporting the chain. The Union should have easily known that they are a hot button that isn’t worth pressing.
It’s time to recap the countdown so far and finally reveal our number one pick in the 2013 gay4soccer Draft, a ranking based on a panel’s evaluations of the players’ hotness.
Here are the top nineteen:
19. Mikey Lopez, Sporting Kansas City
18. Paolo DelPiccolo, Montreal Impact
17. Kyle Bekker, Toronto FC
16. Fernando Monge, Montreal Impact
15. Korey Kindle, Colorado Rapids
14. Ryan Finley, Columbus Crew
13. Dylan Remick, Seattle Sounders
12. Taylor Kemp, DC United
11. Drew Beckie, Columbus Crew
10. Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, Portland Timbers
9. Don Anding, Philadelphia Union
8. Tommy Muller, San Jose Earthquakes
7. Danchrisandre Delgado, San Jose Earthquakes
6. Erik Hurtado, Vancouver Whitecaps
5. Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas
4. Walker Zimmerman, FC Dallas
3. Luis Soffner, New England Revolution
2. Charlie Rugg, LA Galaxy
We are halfway through our countdown of our favorite hot draft picks this MLS preseason, so it seemed like a natural time to check in with last year’s favorite: Chandler Hoffman, Philadelphia Union forward.
We talked about memories of the 2012 SuperDraft and his first professional season, as well as how preseason 2013 is going and what the season ahead looks like with some seasoned veterans now part of the Union attack. And of course, he passes on his crown and sash with some advice for his hottest draft pick successor.
In addition to English, these players and coaching staff shared the You Can Play message in the languages from their home countries:
- Defender Richard Eckersley
- Goalkeeper Stefan Frei
- Midfielder Torsten Frings
- Forward Eric Hassli
- Goalkeeper Milos Kocic
- Head Coach Paul Mariner
- Defender Darren O’Dey
- Academy Director Thomas Rongen
- Midfielder Luis Silva
Toronto FC’s participation in You Can Play is a great testament to its commitment to the diversity of the city in which they play, and to all of the LGBT players, staff, and fans out there. Toronto also has a very special connection to You Can Play, with the Maple Leafs’ Brian Burke on the advisory board.
Thank you Toronto FC!
Major League Soccer is joining GLAAD in going purple for this year’s Spirit Day on October 19.
Spirit Day is now an annual event to speak out against bullying and show support for LGBT youth through millions of Americans wearing the color purple. It was started in 2010 by high schooler Brittany McMillan who encouraged her friends to wear purple in memory of LGBT youth who have committed suicide. It has since grown to include celebrities, business entities like the New York Stock Exchange, and now sports leagues like Major League Soccer.
The NBA and WNBA are also participating this year. Major League Soccer will feature Spirit day on its social media platforms.
You can take the pledge to participate in this year’s Spirit Day at the GLAAD website.
Now maybe MLS clubs can wear purple armbands that weekend too…