Late last week the 2015 Ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame was released, and Natasha Kai became the first out LGBT player eligible for the list.
Kai earned eligibility with her 67 National Team caps between 2006 and 2011. Players must be retired for between 3 and 10 years to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
Natasha Kai was out for her entire professional career and for much of her time with the US Women’s National Team, having spoken to NBC prior to her appearance at the 2008 Olympics about issues with her girlfriend affecting her performance.
Kai played for both Sky Blue FC and the Philadelphia Independence of Women’s Professional Soccer. She was selected by Washington in the inaugural NWSL supplemental draft, but was injured and never played for the Spirit. Since soccer retirement, she has played for the US National Women’s Rugby Sevens Team.
- 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.
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.
Abby Wambach and Sarah Huffman got married in a ceremony in Hawaii this past weekend, multiple sources such as TMZ are now reporting.
Ok, for many of this isn’t news. We’ve known this was happening for awhile now. Heck, I did a Google search back in July when Huffman publicly came out while signing on with Athlete Ally that resulted in their online wedding registry.
(My personal favorite item? The bottle opener in the shape of a bulldog’s head.)
We were waiting until one of them said something about the wedding until we did. We wanted to respect what they clearly wanted to be a private affair. But news of the ceremony has been coming out (as it were) for days now, and we can’t help but share in their joy and wish them the best.
Now media outlets across the globe are picking up the story from TMZ and spreading the news of what is likely the soccer wedding of the year (sorry Jay and Ashleigh).
So congratulations to Abby and Sarah. May your married life together be happy and blessed.
Update: On behalf of Sarah and herself, Abby thanked fans Wednesday afternoon:
Sarah and I wanted to thank everyone for all the love and support. We couldn't be happier. What an amazing week it's been. #honeymoon
— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) October 9, 2013
Portland Thorns and US Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan spoke with ESPN last week, and one of the topics was gay athletes:
On Robbie Rogers:
I remember watching Robbie in person at Columbus and he always caught my eye because he’s so fast. He’s quick. He’s a great soccer player. And I think that the US really needs someone who feels comfortable in their own skin and he is openly gay and he has semi come out of retirement right now training with Galaxy. So I hope he continues to feel comfortable and a team picks him up that he wants to play for. It looks good so far but all the best to Robbie.
Any fashionista will tell you never to forget your roots. US Soccer has a new jersey that celebrates 100 years of the federation (although we fans only like to count the last 20 or so) with a crisp, simple design that looks anything but old fashioned to me.
The blue sleeves and collar give the look a sturdy frame. The bright white is a clean base; and the eye is drawn to the new badge immediately. Let’s talk about the badge, eh? Not many people love the current USA crest. The flying soccer ball is more little league anything else and the stars (which are meant to represent men’s, women’s, and youth programs) seem to others like we’re claiming championships we’ve never won.
We’ve covered troubling anti-gay legislation in Russia on this blog before as it is the 2018 World Cup host, but it’s also the 2014 Winter Olympics host and USA Today talked to Megan Rapinoe about the legislation as she was an out Olympian this past summer.
“I had my girlfriend with me in London,” said soccer player Megan Rapinoe, whose U.S. team won the Olympic gold medal last summer. “If I was just a gay fan going to Sochi, I don’t know. If the law passes, I would definitely be breaking the law. Hopefully it won’t deter gay athletes from being who they are.”
Sochi 2014 will likely break the trend of having a Pride House at the Olympics that was started in Vancouver and London because of these laws. Lady Gaga was threatened with prosecution and Madonna was sued under the anti-gay “propaganda” laws, and activists in Russia have even been arrested for simply wearing rainbow suspenders.
It’s No Name-Calling Week for GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), and Megan Rapinoe did a video for the group released by AOL for the occasion.
The USWNT, Seattle Reign, and Lyon midfielder talks about how biased language should not have a place on the field, in school, or anywhere else.
You can also tell GLSEN why you want to Change the Game with Megan Rapinoe and have a chance to with $500 in Nike goodies, soccer balls signed by Rapinoe, or GLSEN swag if your thoughts are used on their blog.
When Megan Rapinoe was honored by the LA Gay and Lesbian Center at their Anniversary Gala this past weekend, they put together a great tribute video for her.
The video includes messages from Tom Hanks and David Beckham as well as several young women who have been inspired by Rapinoe.
It’s pretty darned cool, even if Tom Hanks got the Women’s World Cup host country wrong.
Congratulations are due to USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who was honored by the LA Gay and Lesbian Center at their Anniversary Gala this past weekend.
Rapinoe was the recipient of the Center’s Board of Directors Award for coming out as a high-profile athlete and for representing the USA as of the few out competitors at this past summer’s Olympic Games.
Fellow Olympian Lori Lindsey and other teammates joined Megan at the gala, and David Beckham sent greetings via video.
Here are Megan Rapinoe’s remarks upon receiving the award, which are very sweet and poignant. And she includes a great story about Lori Lindsey encouraging her to come out.
(Image from Amy LePeilbet’s Twitter feed)