Well done Oregon. #equality
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) May 19, 2014
The reaction, while unique for sports teams, shouldn’t be a surprise from the Timbers and Thorns organization. Last October the teams became the first professional franchises in the nation to endorse a ballot initiative legalizing gay unions. Oregon voters weigh in on the proposal this November.
The Oregonian took the opportunity to talk to the Thorns’ Sarah Huffman. Huffman and Abby Wambach wed in Hawaii last fall, but while they consider themselves spouses their relationship does not yet have legal status. She said the couple plans to take those steps “when the time is right.”
This past Saturday was the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and MLS supporters groups used the day to speak out.
Here’s a look at what some groups did. Section 8 Chicago at the Fire vs. Kansas City match:
— Jëff Krausë (@DFBJeff) May 19, 2014
Gorilla FC at the Seattle vs. San Jose match:
— Gorilla FC (@GorillaFC) May 20, 2014
The Timbers Army at the Portland vs. Columbus match, just days before a court decision legalized same-sex marriage in their state:
— NAmerican Terraces (@NATerraces) May 18, 2014
And finally the Vancouver Whitecaps used the day to unveil their new rainbow scarf. Ten dollars of the cost of every scarf sold will be donated to the You Can Play Project. The scarf is both available for sale online and in person at upcoming matches.
- After a few weeks on the bench, Robbie Rogers made his season debut with the main LA Galaxy squad in their 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo. It’s a packed week for the Galaxy as they return to the field Wednesday night against FC Dallas at home.
- Once again the Portland Thorns delivered a 1-0 defeat to the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium. Both Sarah Huffman and Meleana Shim were substitutes in the match.
- It was a doubly bad week for Lianne Sanderson, Joanna Lohman, and the Boston Breakers as they lost twice in a row to the Chicago Red Stars. Both Lohman and Sanderson saw 180 minutes of action across the pair of matches.
- Abby Wambach’s head found the back of the net once again, but it wasn’t enough for the Western New York Flash who lost to the Washington Spirit 3-2. Lori Lindsey served up the assist for the Spirit’s first goal of the game.
- Anton Hysen and the Myrtle Beach Mutiny got their season off on a good note Friday night as they were victorious on the road against the FC Carolina Discoveries. The team capped off the weekend with a day at the beach to celebrate:
— Myrtle Beach Mutiny (@MyrtleBeachFC) May 17, 2014
- Midweek, many NWSL stars’ attentions turned to international duty. 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying has started for UEFA, and Boston Breakers captain Lianne Sanderson played in England’s 4-0 victory over Ukraine. England’s four remaining qualifiers are all on the road. Abby Wambach captained the USA Women to a 1-1 draw with Canada in Winnipeg.
- Robbie Rogers once again traveled with the LA Galaxy and while he was in the 18 he didn’t see any action. His exclusion is a bit inexplicable as Bruce Arena only used two of his available substitutions. After a 92nd minute goal from Robbie Keane, a third substitution makes sense if only to kill off some of the time on the clock. And why not use the opportunity to bring in a player like Rogers who has found a new home in the back line of the LA Galaxy II?
- In NWSL Weekend action FC Kansas City beat the Washington Spirit 2-1; Lori Lindsey was a late-game substitute. Abby Wambach and her famous noggin were the lone goal scorers in the Western New York Flash’s 2-0 victory over Sky Blue FC. Both Sarah Huffman and Meleana Shim were substitutes in what turned out to be a home turf upset for the Portland Thorns as they fell 1-0 to their Cascadia rivals the Seattle Reign, still without Megan Rapinoe.
The last few years have certainly been amazing for LGBT athletes and fans. In soccer alone, high-profile players like Megan Rapinoe and Robbie Rogers have come out of the closet and continued their professional careers.
But there are many others who play while keeping their sexual orientation hidden. For some it’s purely a personal choice, and that’s okay. But many others keep their secret for the fear of how their teams, their fans, or their friends and family will react.
The You Can Play Project works tirelessly to break down these walls for athletes. Click here to help us support You Can Play this World Cup season.
The You Can Play Project is best known for their videos — public displays of LGBT support from athletes and fans — but they also work in other significant ways. First, they lead panels across the country, speaking at high schools and universities to out athletes and their stories. They also lead trainings with professional teams to help push the climate in sports in the right direction. Finally, they work with LGBT athletes as they go through the coming out process, whether they are comfortable doing so on SportsCenter or if they want to simply tell those who are closest to them.
You Can Play does great work, and I’m proud to support them. And as a soccer fan, I want to use the upcoming FIFA World Cup to send as much support their way as possible from our soccer fan community. Help us out by making a pledge to donate today — a dollar amount per goal scored by the US Men’s National Team during the series of sendoff games and their time in Brazil.
When University of Missouri (gridiron) football player Michael Sam came out publicly a few months ago, You Can Play executive director Wade Davis was there guiding him through the process using his own personal experiences as a now-out athlete. When the San Jose Earthquakes wanted to have a diversity training after Alan Gordon used a gay slur, You Can Play founder Patrick Burke was there to work with them. But it wasn’t just Burkie there as an ally. Out lacrosse player Andrew Goldstein joined him to tell his personal story. Athletes talking to athletes and out athletes like Davis leading the way are important hallmarks of the work You Can Play does.
Join me today in helping them out. Set an amount you pledge to give per USA goal this May and June. We’ll tally up the number of times Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and the rest of our guys find the back of the net and follow up after the World Cup with how to fulfill your pledge to the You Can Play Project.
This is an amazing opportunity to help the You Can Play Project, but it will only be amazing with everybody pitching in and making a pledge. Help us raise thousands for You Can Play and the great work they do with and for LGBT athletes.
Thank you for your support of Gay4Soccer, and for supporting the You Can Play Project!
- Much sooner than anyone expected, Robbie Rogers made the jump from the LA Galaxy II to the LA Galaxy on Saturday, making his first appearance in the 18 in this MLS season. While he never saw the field, it’s very possible that he was part of Bruce Arena’s second-half plans until Omar Gonzalez was taken out of the game as a precaution at halftime. The Galaxy lost 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids.
- Rogers wasn’t the only season debut in LGBT soccer this past weekend, as Abby Wambach made her first appearance of the season for the Western New York Flash after being sidelined due to injury. Not only was it her first appearance, but it was against her wife Sarah Huffman and the Portland Thorns. Meleana Shim also made an appearance in the 1-1 draw between the two teams.
- Both Joanna Lohman and captain Lianne Sanderson played a full ninety minutes in the Boston Breakers’ 1-0 loss to Sky Blue FC. Sanderson is off to England this week for an appearance with her national team as they take on Ukraine in Women’s World Cup Qualifying.
- Lori Lindsey was a late-game substitute in the Washington Spirit’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Reign.
It was an awesome weekend for LGBT soccer pros as Boston’s captain Lianne Sanderson had a brace in their victory and was named the NWSL Player of the Week! Congrats!
Robbie Rogers didn’t play in LA Galaxy II’s road draw against Arizona United Friday night, but he saw nearly a full 90 minutes in their 3-0 win over the Orange County Blues. It makes one wonder if he’ll be on the road with the senior team soon as they begin a series of three games on the road.
The Myrtle Beach Mutiny kicked off their regular season with a 3-2 loss to Jacksonville United of the neighboring Sunshine Conference. Jacksonville was a tough opponent as 2011 league champions and 2013 conference champions.
Lori Lindsey played the first half in a 1-0 victory for the Washington Spirit over the Chicago Red Stars.
Both Meleana Shim and Sarah Huffman were late-game substitutes for the Portland Thorns as they defeated Kansas City FC 3-1.
It was team captain Lianne Sanderson with the brace as the Boston Breakers took down Sky Blue FC 3-2. Sanderson was involved with the third goal as well with an assist to teammate Julie King. Both Sanderson and Joanna Lohman played a full 90 and the Breakers take on Sky Blue again this upcoming weekend.
Megan Rapinoe was available on the bench but did not see any action in the Seattle Reign’s 2-0 shutout of the Houston Dash.
Last week Major League Soccer and it’s charitable arm MLS Works released the 2014 edition of their “Don’t Cross the Line” PSA video.
It’s…nice. It’s the usual “Don’t Cross the Line” message delivered by league superstars along with fans, which is new for this year.
But it also seems a bit watered down. It seems unspecific. It delivers the league tag line and a lot of feel-good buzz words but it doesn’t call out what “Don’t Cross the Line” means as it has in prior years. Here’s what I mean with language from past years.
2012: “No bullying. No racism. No sexism. No homophobia. No excuses. No exceptions.”
2013: “We’re part of a global community with every age, race, gender, sexuality, or ability. Everyone is welcome. We draw the line at discrimination or harassment of any kind, on and off the field.”
In 2014, that overt anti-harassment message is missing. Does the league find it unnecessary because things are improving? Does the league just think that “Don’t Cross the Line” is so much a part of the culture that defining it further is unnecessary?
But this is a league that just ramped up anti-discrimination and anti-harassment efforts amongst its teams and staff. Posters in locker rooms across the continent tell players, “MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER HAS A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY FOR HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION OF ANY KIND.” So why isn’t that zero-tolerance message a focus of a video that fans see on television, online, and in stadiums?
This is a real missed opportunity for Major League Soccer. With a young, hip fan base they could really be staking a claim as the most pro-LGBT league in the nation. But just when you think they’re about to do something really ground breaking, they whiff. Individual teams are doing amazing things, but it often seems like the league is just an inch wide of goal, and that’s a shame.
All in all, Major League Soccer, you’ve done good on this newest “Don’t Cross the Line” video. But you’ve also done better.
A weekly roundup of what LGBT soccer players were up to over the weekend. What other sport does that? So with more action on the field and a big movie festival event, here we go!
- Lori Lindsey made her 2014 debut for the Washington Spirit, who also chalked up their first win of 2014, defeating Kansas City FC 3-1. Lindsey started the match and was subbed out at the half.
- Meleana Shim was in the starting lineup and Sarah Huffman was a second-half substitute as the Portland Thorns drew Sky Blue FC 1-1 on the road.
- Robbie Rogers played 80 minutes for the LA Galaxy II as they beat crosstown rivals the Orange County Blues 3-1. Josh Guesman at Corner of the Galaxy has some great quotes from Rogers on how he felt during the battle of a match and poses the question, “Is Robbie Rogers already ready for a return to the senior team?“
- A goal from Joanna Lohman wasn’t enough for the Boston Breakers, who fell 3-2 to the Houston Dash, who earned their first win of their inaugural season. Lianne Sanderson played a full 90 minutes for the Breakers.
- Anton Hysen’s Myrtle Beach Mutiny unveiled a new logo and website at a player meet and greet with their fans.
- The soccer documentary Next Goal Wins about Thomas Rongen coaching the American Samoa Football Team made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival. One of the players in the film is Jaiyah Saelua, considered to be the first transgender person to compete in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, but she identifies herself as fa’afafine, considered a third gender in Samoan culture. Rongen shared this great photo with Saelua taken on the way to the event:
— Thomas Rongen (@ThomasRongen) April 20, 2014
With NWSL season two kicking off, the Myrtle Beach Mutiny beginning preseason action and Robbie Rogers back on the pitch, it’s a good time to start a review of what our favorite out LGBT soccer players have been up to.
- It was the inaugural match for the Houston Dash, but they were defeated by the Portland Thorns 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Both Meleana Shim and Sarah Huffman appeared as substitutes in the match.
- Abby Wambach was out of the Western New York Flash’s match against the Washington Spirit as she seeks treatment for a head injury suffered during the USWNT’s midweek match against China.
- Lianne Sanderson wore the captain’s armband for the Boston Breakers and Joanna Lohman had a strike hit the crossbar, but their team’s efforts weren’t enough to defeat the Washington Reign FC, who clinched a 3-0 shutout with a goal from Megan Rapinoe.
- On loan to the LA Galaxy II, Robbie Rogers played 40 minutes in the team’s loss to Sacramento Republic FC. His first competitive action this year, he became the first out man to play in USL Pro.
- Anton Hysen and NPSL’s Myrtle Beach Mutiny started preseason action against Francis Marion University, winning 2-1. Here’s him looking good in uniform from his Instagram feed: