Written by United Soccer Coaches LGBTQ & Allies Coaches Community Member Dan Woog

June is Pride Month. It’s a chance for the LGBTQ community to celebrate. We march in parades, or applaud those who do. We enjoy film festivals, book readings and parties. We compete in LGBTQ soccer tournaments (of course).

The United Soccer Coaches LGBTQ+ & Allies Coaches Community greets June with excitement and (yes) pride. The weather is great, the energy level sky-high, and the vibe outstanding.

But we can’t do it alone.

Look again at our name: LGBTQ+ & Allies. The second part is as important as the first.

In every aspect of life, allies are vital. Soccer teams need fans who support them. Players need coaches who believe in them. Coaches need mentors who guide them. We may not think of those groups as “allies,” but without them we are alone.

The LGBTQ community needs allies too. Some of us are out as coaches, players, officials, administrators or support staff. Some are not.

Regardless, we need teammates, friends and colleagues who stand with us, and stand up for us. We need people who model inclusivity, embrace diversity, and make The Beautiful Game safe and fun for all.

Some allies make strong statements. Others show support through quiet action. Both are important. Both are noticed, by those of us who are open about our sexuality and gender identity, and those who feel they cannot yet be.

Among those paying particular attention to words and deeds: young soccer players. They learn many things on a soccer team. Most lessons have nothing to do with passing, shooting, defending or shape.

Happy Pride Month! In whatever way you can, make United Soccer Coaches proud.