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Photos: MLS All Star Game Press Conference

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Just a block from where the Declaration of Independence was adopted, members of the 2012 MLS All Star Team and Chelsea FC met to face reporters ahead of tonight’s match.

If bringing an English team together with the All Stars of America’s league so close to the site of where our independence from England was forged was a bit of intentional irony, bravo Major League Soccer staffers.

The giant MLS All Star soccer ball sat atop the Independence Visitors Center as part of its latest stop around the city of Philadelphia.

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Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey, and Michael Boxall in the NOH8 Campaign

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In early May, the NOH8 Campaign made a swing through Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. At their Vancouver stop, Whitecaps defenders and allies Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey, and Michael Boxall (now with the Wellington Phoenix) all participated.

The NOH8 Campaign began as a silent protest to Proposition 8 in California, but has continued on since then to stand up for not only marriage, but all human equality.

It’s a great testament to the dedication of these players to the cause of equality that they took the time out of their schedules to be a part of the Vancouver event.

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Chivas USA: Get it Together Goats!

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Wednesday’s home win against the Portland Timbers ended a poor run of form for Chivas USA and brought promise to the team heading into Saturday’s Superclasico matchup against the LA Galaxy. However, an extremely poor first half set the stage for the 4-1 loss to the cross town rivals.

The Goats came out on Wednesday with a bit of a different lineup – Ryan Smith was inserted for Blair Gavin, with Alejandro Moreno as the lone striker. John Valencia also started in the defense for Raushawn McKenzie, though this seemed to be more of a rest thing with the Superclasico coming up. The team got off to a promising start, scoring an early goal in the 15th minute. Ryan Smith charged forward and passed the ball along the front of goal to Miller Bolaños who tapped it in. Of course I picked that moment to go to the bathroom at the Home Depot Center and missed it happen live. Nothing else really happened to speak of, and the match ended 1-0. I felt that it was a promising performance leading up to Saturday’s game as they showed some offensive sparks that had previously been missing.

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The Philadelphia Union is the First MLS Team to Be a Soccer Ally with gay4soccer

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No more teasing.

We are very happy to announce that the Philadelphia Union have taken the step of becoming a Soccer Ally with us here at gay4soccer, the first team in Major League Soccer to do so.

They are boldly agreeing to a pledge similar to the charter every English Premier League team signed last winter, to combat homophobia and transphobia, and make soccer a more inclusive place for the LGBT community:

  • We agree that everyone should be able to participate in, watch and enjoy sports — whoever they are and whatever their background.
  • We agree that sports are about fairness and equality, respect and dignity. Sports teach individuals how to strive and succeed, how to cope with success and disappointment, and bring people together to achieve a common goal.
  • We are committed to making these values a reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We will work together, and individually, to rid the game of soccer of homophobia and transphobia.
  • We will make soccer a welcome, inviting, and inclusive place for everyone — for those participating in the sport, those attending matches and for those working or volunteering in it — while making adeliberate effort to reach out to GLBT people. We will work with all these groups to ensure they have a voice, and to challenge unacceptable behavior, including working to eliminate homophobic language from the game.

It was such a pleasure to announce this to the crowd at Tabu last night as part of this special week for soccer in Philadelphia. We look forward to working with the staff and team at the Union to putting this pledge into action and working with other teams to sign on to the pledge as well.

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Photos: gay4soccer Night in Philadelphia

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Thank you so much to everyone who came out last night for our first party! Hopefully many, many more to come.

A few special thanks:

To Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar for being such great hosts.

To Magners Cider for sponsoring the event and having great cider tastings.

To the Philadelphia Falcons and Sons of Ben for spreading the word and coming out to celebrate.

Finally, to Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman for taking time out of their busy All Star Game schedules to join us.

Now, on to the photos!

A great crowd out at Tabu

Philadelphia Falcons members and supporters hanging out

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Major League Soccer to End Boy Scouts of America Partnership

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I was stuck in my New Orleans on a stormy Friday afternoon when I first the news. I am now in a Philadelphia hotel room on a sunny afternoon reflecting on the news.

Major League Soccer will not partner with the Boy Scouts of America after the 2012 season.

When the partnership was announced in January, we were upset. The league we love would be working with and sending money to an organization that, as a national policy, wouldn’t have us as members.

To MLS’ credit, the Scouts said the policy was under review, especially after the outcry following the dismissal of out Ohio leader Jennifer Tyrell. There was a potential that the Scouts could do the right thing, and a number of Board members even publicly said they would be in favor of a change.

But last week the Boy Scouts dug in their heels last week and said that they would not enact any changes to their policy following a two-year review. Many expressed outrage, and even Eagle Scout Grant Wahl said that MLS needed to cut their Boy Scout ties:

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This Week on gay4soccer…

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Hey, it’s Chris, the guy usually behind gay4soccer. Tomorrow I’m headed out to New Orleans for a big church youth gathering, and leaving the site in the capable hands of our man in LA, Tommy.

There are a few awesome things coming up this week and next to look out for:

Grant in Seattle will be providing coverage inside the first World Football Challenge match, Seattle vs. Chelsea, which is also Roger Levesque’s final match before retiring from the club.

And all next week I will be in Philadelphia providing complete coverage of the 2012 MLS All Star Game and all of the events surrounding it.

Of course one of those events is our very own party Monday, July 23 at Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar, 200 South 12th Street. Come celebrate the All Star Game with the Philadelphia Falcons and come hear a huge announcement from the Philadelphia Union.

Check out the details here.

Have a great week!

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Photos: Chicago Fire Players at Equality Illinois’ First Friday

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Last week we brought you the news of the Chicago Fire partnering with Equality Illinois on a number of events all summer long.

The first event as part of the partnership was a Chicago Fire presence at Equality Illinois’ July First Friday cocktail party on the 6th. Goalkeeper Jay Nolly and defender Dan Gargan, both members of our Allies list, represented the team at the event.

Thank you to Equality Illinois for the photos and we look forward to seeing what Fire players at next week’s pie toss!

Nolly and Gargan with Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov — plus an “I do” tshirt! (Rachel Crosby, Equality Illinois)

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Chivas USA’s Disappointing Form Results in US Open Cup Loss

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Chivas USA’s promising U.S. Open Cup campaign came to a staggering end yesterday in their 4-1 defeat away to the Seattle Sounders.  This match comes after a horrid home draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps over the weekend. The Goats were playing for a spot in the USOC final, something the team has never done before in franchise history. With a good run into the semi, the team had a good chance to vie for the title. However, their unfortunate summer form got the better of them. Not to discredit the play of the Sounders, Chivas USA was unable to find a good rhythm until late in the second half after Seattle had already scored 2 goals.

Both teams started off slow, but the Sounders were able to find their footing and gain possession after about 20 minutes. An Eddie Johnson goal put the Sounders up in the 31st minute after a defensive lapse from the Chivas USA backline. The goal was followed up with a couple more attempts from the Sounders and some terrific saves, yet again, from Dan Kennedy. Chivas USA had ZERO shots on goal in the first half.

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Seattle Sounders Emotional Return to Form: A Discussion

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The Seattle Sounders faced two very important matches this week, meeting up with the Colorado Rapids at Century Link field and Chivas USA at the Starfire training grounds and coming away both times with a much needed win.  The league game on Saturday was particularly special, ending our winless nine game streak and seeing the return of Sounders hero, injured player Steve Zakuani, who’d had his leg broken facing the Rapids a year and a half ago.  Our Sounder-supporting gay4soccer contributors, Grant (@ducki98444) and Tom (@thepickupbear) sat down and talked about that match afterwards.

Forgiveness

Mullan and Zakuani share a hug post-game

What were you feeling before the game?  

(Grant) I was nervous. I mean it’s been 9 matches with no wins. Steve was in the 18. I really didn’t want to lose to the Rapids at home. Our defense has had lots of lapses recently. But I had a lot of optimism about what we could do.

(Tom) I was excited before this one.  I knew the rumors about Zak’s return, but figured Colorado was a risky time for the Sounders to sub him in…I was glued to my twitter feed before the game anyway to get a hint of the 18.

Did the history between the teams color your expectations of the game at all?  

(Grant) Well of course. With any team you’ve played before there are perceptions, expectations, and history. This matchup has become one with lots of emotions due to the idea of thug-ish physical play from the players. My mother would say that there’s a hair of bad blood there, I would say it’s a leg full of bad blood.

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