It’s time to continue our annual countdown that plays “what if?” with the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. What if players were selected solely on their appearance? What would the draft’s first round look like? We asked a group of folks about the players in the first few rounds of the SuperDraft and compiled a countdown of the top nineteen. Here is the next batch of six players.
13. Ryan Neil
- Actual SuperDraft pick: Round 1, Number 18
- Drafted by: Real Salt Lake
- College: California
- Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
- Position: Defender
- Stats: 6’1″, 165 pounds
Preseason is underway for Major League Soccer and this week we continue a now three-year tradition. Taking a look at the 2014 SuperDraft picks through a gay4soccer lens.
The premise is simple. What if the draft was done solely on the basis of the players’ looks? We took the 38 players from the first two rounds of the SuperDraft and based on feedback from a group of readers–men and women, gay and straight–we ranked the top 19 into a hypothetical first round. Here are the first six to be revealed in this year’s draft:
19. Eric Miller
- Actual SuperDraft pick: Round 1, Number 5
- Drafted by: Montreal Impact
- College: Creighton
- Hometown: Woodbury, MN
- Position: Defender
- Stats: 6’1″, 175 pounds
Federation sends diverse team to nation with recent history of neo-Nazi issues in fan base
Last week U.S. Soccer quietly announced that the Men’s National Team will play Ukraine in a friendly March 5 as part of its preparations for the 2014 World Cup. It wasn’t posted to social media; it was just slipped onto the website.
The issue with this is that the nation of Ukraine has had a recent history of racism, neo-Nazism, and gay bashing within its national team fan base and in the nation at large.
Let’s start with LGBT issues, where things got very heated in the months ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament that was co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Gay pride in Kiev had to be cancelled in May 2012 when right-wing soccer hooligans attacked event organizers soon before it was set to begin. Police flat-out told them they would not put officers in harm’s way to protect the LGBT community.
Amnesty International advised LGBT persons and other minorities from travelling to Ukraine for Euro matches:
Not only will they have to deal with violent football hooligans who deliberately target gay people and people of ethnic minorities, they will also face an extremely corrupt police force who have a track record of beating and mistreating people because of their sexual orientation.
I was sitting down to write down some reflections on the past year in American soccer when I got an email alert about an opinion piece on CNN’s website: “Pro Sports, Still Homophobic in 2014.”
First, I’m certain that the headline there was crafted by a CNN editor and not Hudson Taylor who wrote the accompanying commentary because anyone who spends any sort of time in the pro sports world knows that such a blanket statement is untrue. There have been a few high-profile instances in Pro Football this past week that certainly set the atmosphere for that headline but I read it a bit angry thinking, “That’s not us. That’s not the players, fans, and staff whom I consider my family and friends.”
It was great to experience the final first-hand for the first time and to share some of the moments with you as we launched a new YouTube Channel. If you missed any of the moments over the weekend here are the compilation videos we shared created using Google’s Auto Awesome video program.
MLS and Sporting KC put on a World Cup Draw watch event at Sporting Park’s Members Club. It was great to watch the draw with a few National Team players in attendance to see their instant reactions and hang out with local fans.
Abby Wambach has been named number five on ESPNW’s year-end “Impact 10″ list of female athletes.
Wambach was a natural pick for the list with her record-breaking year as she passed Mia Hamm for the greatest number of international goals scored by any player. ESPNW also cites her leading the Western New York Flash to a NWSL championship match in her hometown, where they lost to the Portland Thorns whose Alex Morgan was named as number ten on the list.
You can still vote in the fan version of the poll at the ESPNW website.
Now ESPN, can we now discuss how there could possibly be four bigger athletes than Abby Wambach in 2013? Boo.
Robbie Rogers made the list as Out Magazine revealed their first 15 entries to their annual Out100 of notable personalities in the LGBT community.
It marks the first time a soccer star has been named to this list selected by both magazine editors and readers.
Rogers is joined in the first batch of honorees by WNBA star Brittney Griner, Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, and the legendary George Takei. Here’s hoping he’s not the only member of our soccer family on the list when the full 100 is revealed.
Rogers and the LA Galaxy hold a 1-0 lead over Real Salt Lake in the MLS Western Conference Semifinals. Leg 2 from Sandy, Utah is tonight at 9 PM ET on ESPN2.
There’s more from Robbie Rogers’ Out Magazine photo shoot at their website.
The You Can Play Project is launching an initiative with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and MLS’ Colorado Rapids are among the pro teams who have signed on to participate.
You Can Play, Colorado! is a program to encourage inclusion in high school athletics and other extracurricular activities, especially among LGBT youth. Many Colorado sports teams will be represented in the program including the Rapids, NHL’s Avalanche, and NBA’s Nuggets. The Avalanche will be the first with a video out in support of the program early next month. Students from across the state will also be able to create videos supporting diversity for the project as part of a contest.
You Can Play executive director Wade Davis graduated from high school in Colorado, and had this to say in their release about the new program:
Ending discrimination of any kind in sports has always been the mission of You Can Play. In working with CHSAA, it became clear that You Can Play’s original mission of changing the culture of locker rooms extends to anywhere students rely on teammates, whether that’s a locker room, on a debate or chess team, or in school bands or plays.
Hopefully You Can Play, Colorado! will serve as a great example for what professional teams and organizations across the country can do together to work towards inclusion at all levels of sports.
Oregon United for Marriage along with other groups are currently in the process of collecting the voter signatures needed to put marriage equality on the November 2014 ballot.
The Timbers and Thorns organization announced the endorsement with a statement from owner Merritt Paulson: “We are proud to support Oregon United for Marriage and its efforts to secure the freedom to marry for all Oregonians next November.” They also released the following video on the Oregon United for Marriage YouTube page:
The Chicago Fire currently work with Equality Illinois, who are working through the legislature for marriage equality. Adidas America joined with Oregon United for Marriage this week as well.
You can sign onto a message thanking the Timbers, Thorns, and NBA’s Trailblazers on the Oregon United for Marriage website.
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Friday that its board voted to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.
The USOC was under a great deal of pressure from both athletes and lawmakers to protect gay and lesbian athletes ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where laws are in place that punish what is viewed as pro-gay propaganda. The amended bylaw reads:
The USOC is committed to honesty and integrity as the cornerstone of our activities. In turn, the USOC expects you to conduct yourself in an ethical and legal manner as a representative of the USOC. This requires you to:
* Respect the rights of all individuals to fair treatment and equal opportunity, free from discrimination or harassment of any type, including, without limitation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or otherwise.
While openly stating opposition to the law, the USOC states that they will not advocate for its changing. They are inquiring with the International Olympic Committee about how IOC rules against political speech affect athletes who have already been vocal about the laws in place in Russia. The IOC does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in its non-discrimination policies.
Gay and lesbian soccer players from Robbie Rogers to Tasha Kai and from Megan Rapinoe to Abby Wambach have represented the United States at the past few Olympic games.