Dean Linke sits down for a conversation with our LGBTQ and Allies Advocacy Group Chair, Dan Woog. A transcription of this video can be found below:
Dean Linke: Time now for another edition of our United Soccer Coaches Advocacy Community Spotlight and I am joined by a near and dear friend, Dan Woog, who’s the Chair of the LGBTQ and Allies Advocacy Group. My man, Dan. Welcome, Dan.
Dan Woog: Dean, always a pleasure thanks.
Dean Linke: Yeah, we go way back. Way back to the Yale Bowl in the US National Team and so much has changed since then but nothing’s changed about my fondness for you, Dan. You continue to give back to the game and you give back to the association.
Dan Woog: It is my pleasure. Great people.
Dean Linke: Well when you decided to take on this role as chair, why was it important to you because I love how it screams for equality and making sure we don’t judge people no matter what’s going on in their lives.
Dan Woog: Yeah, I think it’s important for LGBTQ coaches to have a voice, to be represented, to show that they’re there and they’re visible but I think it’s just as important for our allies and there’s so many of them. The men and women who may have LGBTQ players on the team or work with them and together we can accomplish great things and then as we’ve become an advocacy council. A true voice for all different groups it’s just opened up all of our world’s immeasurably.
Dean Linke: Yeah, Dan I think our eyes are wide open and Landon Donovan, arguably one of the greatest to ever wear the US uniform, really used his platform to open our eyes. Your thoughts on his actions during the season?
Dan Woog: Phenomenal and it was quick. It was direct, it was honest and straightforward. It was important coming from him and you know, he didn’t say this is all about me, he just said this is the right thing to do. This is the moment, this is the time. And and I think it gives all of us agency now to do what is right not just for our own groups, but for everybody involved in this fantastic game of soccer.
Dean Linke: Dan I’ve heard you speak about the pressure the young people deal with when they’re wondering about their sexual identity at a young age that was another reason why you wanted to take this role. To make sure that coaches are aware of that pressure correct?
Dan Woog: Absolutely. You know, you can’t see when you’re coaching who that young boy or girl is who may have all kinds of questions but who is listening to everything you say or don’t say and it’s not from a place of malice that a coach doesn’t deal with LGBTQ issues. It’s just not being aware of them and the more we can bring this sort of into the sunshine and shine a light on it the better we will all be as coaches for every single athlete that we coach.
Dean Linke: And that’s the key dialogue and action. Don’t let anything die right, continue the fight.
Dan Woog: Absolutely, I mean as soccer coaches, the players who are there want to be there. They’re at a spot where they choose to be there and they look up to us and not just for the X’s and O’s. But for the values, the way we live our lives and the environment we create and I think United Soccer Coaches has done a fantastic job helping to create a welcoming environment for everyone in the game.
Dean Linke: I know you’re welcoming. If people out there want to get involved in what you’re doing with the LGBTQ and Allies Advocacy Group, Dan how can they do that?
Dan Woog: Come to our social. We’ve got a lot of games, it’s gonna be fun. Come to our sessions on creating an inclusive team. Find us on the United Soccer Coaches website. Follow us on social media, we’ve kicked that up a notch this year and just, we’re a Big Ten, we welcome everyone.
Dean Linke: Finally, when you say we welcome everyone. United Soccer Coaches, whether it’s your role as chair of the LGBTQ and Allies or Black coaches, Latino coaches. I love that about the association. It’s for everyone, Dan.
Dan Woog: Oh my God and I have grown as a coach and as a person by working with the Faith-Based group, the Disabilities group. The Black coaches are great. The Latino coaches, the Native Americans, the Women. Oh my God, I’m surrounded by great people. I love it.
Dean Linke: When you say grown, you haven’t got any taller though, right Dan?
Dan Woog: No, I haven’t. I’m on the short coaches advocacy group.
Dean Linke: That’s why we love you. Thanks for all you do Dan Woog. Appreciate you being on the Spotlight.
Dan Woog: You bet.