By Dan Woog, United Soccer Coaches LGBTQ & Allies Advocacy Group Chair

Welcome to Pride Month!

June is when LGBTQ people – and their allies – celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender life.

There are parades, parties and concerts. Plus of course Pride Days and Nights, at soccer matches across the country.

As chair of United Soccer Coaches’ LGBTQ & Allies advocacy group, I have plenty to be proud of.

For example:

The growth of our group. Our members men, women and non-binary. We coach at every level. Some are gay, lesbian, bi and trans. Some are straight allies. All are committed to making our teams safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for every player, in every way.

What we’ve accomplished. In just a few years, we’ve produced a Diversity & Inclusion e-learning module; created the annual Play With Pride rainbow laces project; sponsored convention sessions on important topics; contributed stories to Soccer Journal; sponsored a coaching course; supported coaches with questions about LGBTQ issues; thrown very cool social bashes, and collaborated with other advocacy groups, all for the good of our beautiful game.

Our leadership team. We span the country, and represent diverse constituencies. We talk often. I learn something every day from David Gough, Shalom Kimble, Kaig Lightner, Brienne Smith and Jonas Worth. (PS: We’re always looking for help!)

The opportunity to work with the Advocacy Council. Joining with leaders of the Black, Latino, Native American, AAPI, women’s, faith-based, disabilities, professional, college, high school and youth groups – learning about their issues, and finding common causes – has broadened my perspectives, and enriched my life.

Support from United Soccer Coaches board and staff. They stand solidly behind us. Their unwavering faith in what we do – and their commitment to all coaches, of all backgrounds, in all ways – inspires me every day.

Those are a few of the things I’m proud of, this Pride Month. I am uplifted by my colleagues, excited by what we can do together, and eager to tackle the challenges ahead.

June Pride lasts 30 days. But the LGBTQ & Allies advocacy group is here for United Soccer Coaches, 24/7/365.