With the announced launch of Major League Soccer's second annual Soccer For All Month on Wednesday, May 22, clubs around the league are all getting into the act of fostering more inclusive communities in their own way.
Here's a look how your favorite MLS teams are observing the initiative, which signifies that everyone is welcome to MLS, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status and emphasizes the League’s commitment to drive positive social change and end discrimination.
If you don't see your club listed here yet, be sure to check back — all 24 clubs will be supporting Soccer For All through late May and all of June, and this list will be updated as those events take place.
Julian Gressel may be an MLS Cup champion and the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year, but he's not just concerned with his on-field success. Before last weekend's game against Real Salt Lake, the German midfielder helped Atlanta United with their unified match.
Atlanta United, in cohort with fellow Mercedes-Benz Stadium occupants and NFL franchise Atlanta Falcons, also hosted a HER Field Day. Maybe there's a future NWSL or U.S. women's national team player in the mix?
⚽️ x 🏈— MLS WORKS (@MLSWORKS) June 13, 2019
Girls Inc. visited Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the Atlanta United Foundation and the Atlanta Falcons Foundation hosted HER Field Day. #SoccerForAll @ATLUTD @AtlantaFalcons pic.twitter.com/JyLl1DEBv0
The City Too Busy to Hate 🌈— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) June 29, 2019
We love you, Atlanta ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/W6X5wgeuU8
The Fire held their Pride night on June 22 when they hosted Real Salt Lake. The anthem was sung by local musician Steve Grand, and the team released a special scarf for the occasion.
After FC Cincinnati asked the region to proclaim who their “Soccer is For” ahead of their May 25 game against the New York Red Bulls, they wore Soccer For All t-shirts pregame against the Colorado Rapids on June 1.
FCC offered fans throughout the Tri-State region an opportunity to visibly demonstrate the inclusivity of the sport and supporting FC Cincinnati, for the chance to win tickets to a game.
Heading into the West End part of Cincinnati, the club also celebrated a spring season of giving back to local youth players.
FC Cincy hosted Equality Night on June 22, when they hosted the LA Galaxy. There were rainbows everywhere, including rainbow smoke in The Bailey.
The Rapids will hosted their Pride Night on June 8 when they defeated Minnesota United 1-0.
After the game, the Rapids hosted their Unified game with Special Olympics players with Minnesota United as part of their #SoccerForAll efforts.
Columbus Crew SC
Columbus held Pride Night on June 1 at MAPFRE Stadium. They wore their pride prematch tops, and will be auctioning those off, to benefit Columbus Crew SC Foundation and Kaleidoscope Youth Center.
As part of the festivities, the Nordecke revealed a Pride-related tifo inspired by "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Nina West, a resident of Columbus.
Unified Matches are commonplace throughout the league, and Columbus played theirs following a June 23 home match against Sporting Kansas City.
The same night, the Crew hosted a celebration of women in sports, including special guests Columbus Eagles and USWNT legend Shannon Boxx.
D.C. United participated in the One Journey Festival on June 8, with Chris Odoi-Atsem and team mascot Talon on hand to support refugees in the D.C. community.
Chris Odoi-Atsem and @TalonDCU spent the day at the @1journeyfest and @lacesport Refugee Community Soccer Day. Soccer is a universal language that brings us together no matter our background. 🖤❤️ #SoccerForAll #DCU pic.twitter.com/WF0gAyD2qB— D.C. United CR (@DCU_CR) June 9, 2019
Kids, soccer and community. What else do you need?
On June 19, D.C. United held a signing event for their 2019 Unified Team.
When Wayne Rooney scored from beyond midfield against Orlando City in a 1-0 win June 26, the match also served as the club's ninth annual United Night Out. The event celebrated Pride Month – with one heck of a goal to boot.
As part of their #SoccerForAll Night celebrations on June 1, the Houston Dynamo wore Soccer For All tops pregame and used rainbow corner flags at BBVA Compass Stadium.
LAFC celebrated Women In Sport on May 17 at Banc of California Stadium with all-female capo stands and events before the match and at halftime, honoring great female athletes in Los Angeles.
WNBA Champion, MVP, and Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike took part in the club's pre-match falconry ritual before the teams took the pitch.
Then US women's national team legend and LAFC co-owner Mia Hamm joined ladies in front of The 3252 as an honorary Capo to help spur on the Black & Gold.
Then in a 4-2 win over the Montreal Impact on May 24, LAFC held Pride Night at the Banc. The highlight was a massive Freddie Mercury tifo before matters got underway, with celebratory smoke also in rainbow colors.
LAFC participated in Los Angeles' Pride festivities on June 9, with ESPN personality LZ Granderson waving the flag for both Pride and the club.
The club also produced a video from Pride Parade.
“I’m so excited to be here with #LAFC, they have stood by all of us in the LGBTQ community since before the stadium was built."— LAFC (@LAFC) June 11, 2019
Thank you to everyone who joined us at the @lapride Parade! #SoccerForAll 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/WaInBNaDOp
The Galaxy's Pride Night was on June 2, when they hosted New England. Among the special guests in attendance was former Galaxy player and MLS trailblazer Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay player to play in the league.
They used rainbow nets at Dignity Health Sports Park, wore Soccer For All tops pregame and added a rainbow element to the usual streamers thrown by supporters.
🌈 Pride Party 🌈 pic.twitter.com/nBBOF8tWJU— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) June 3, 2019
A full video of the day's festivities can be found below:
Then later in the month, the club held #SoccerForAll clinics at nearby Leapwood Avenue Elementary School and Annalee Avenue Elementary School.
Minnesota United FC
The Loons hosted their Pride game on June 2 against the Philadelphia Union. Among the highlights, they wore Soccer For All training tops pregame, Ozzie Alonso wore a rainbow captain's armband to celebrate Pride, and the Allianz Field light display was lit up in rainbow colors.
Minnesota United also commemorated the Twin Cities' Pride celebration by lighting up Allianz Field in rainbow colors.
As part of their Special Olympics Unified Team, the Impact held a contract-signing ceremony for players. Patrick Leduc, the team's administrative director of soccer operations, was in attendance.
New England Revolution
On June 8, Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell became the first active pro athlete to march in Boston Pride, alongside members of the club and the Midnight Riders supporters group.
The club also got out into the community, with center back Jalil Anibaba helping at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
Had a great afternoon co-hosting a clinic at the @bgcboston today! We supplied soccer equipment with @goodsportsinc, and @jalil_anibaba4 was on hand to give advice, play goalie and more! 😎— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) June 7, 2019
✅ out our insta stories for more action! #NERevs // #YawkeyClub // #SoccerForAll pic.twitter.com/Y7swazS3sA
On June 18, the club held a photo shoot with their Unified Team and members of Special Olympics Massachusetts.
On June 24, Nikolai Calabria of the US amputee soccer team visited the team in training, and he'll participate in a halftime scrimmage during the June 29 game against Houston.
The #NERevs were visited by @NicolaiCalabria, captain of the U.S. Amputee Soccer team today. Nico and some of his teammates will participate in a scrimmage at halftime of Saturday’s match.#SoccerForAll pic.twitter.com/ItrPQb3MmD— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) June 24, 2019
On the road for much of June, the Revs returned to Gillette Stadium for a June 29 match, beating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 on a late Teal Bunbury goal. It also served as the club's Pride Match, with a pregame tifo and plenty of inclusivity.
New York City FC
New York City FC celebrated their third annual Pride Night in June 6 when the club hosted FC Cincinnati at Yankee Stadium. The date for this year’s Pride Match fell at the beginning of Pride Month, during which the city will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, fittingly NYC hosted WorldPride, the largest Pride celebration across the globe.
To kick off Pride Month, NYCFC players Brad Stuver, Keaton Parks and Luis Barraza volunteered at the City in the Community (CITC) Saturday Night Lights (SNL) program on May 17. The trio joined local youth in mini-soccer games and took part in a discussion around LGBTQ issues before helping to tie-dye gear for the group to wear to NYCFC’s Pride Match.
This year, NYCFC partnered with Athlete Ally, a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQ equality to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQ people in sport. Athlete Ally hosted a pre-game panel at NYCFC’s Pride Match to discuss the power of LGBTQ inclusion in and through sport.
On the pitch, team captain Alex Ring wore a rainbow captain’s armband as a show of support and the team donned adidas Pride training tops during warmups, the pre-game procession and national anthem.
These tops will then be worn again when the squad walks out on the pitch for all remaining home games in June. Additionally, the numbers of NYCFC’s jerseys were changed to a rainbow pattern – a first in the club’s history. These special edition player-worn shirts and other in-stadium Pride memorabilia were then donated to CITC, Athlete Ally and other Pride-related groups after the match.
Thousands marched in New York City for World Pride, some of whom were NYCFC diehards.
NYCFC does plenty of community work, the least of which is helping steer inner-city youths towards more promising futures via the game of soccer. One feel-good story comes from Melina De La Cruz, who has turned her life around as part of the Saturday Night Lights program.
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls had their own float in the 28th Annual LGBTQ Jersey Pride parade, in Asbury Park on June 2.
We had a special parade float at New Jersey's 28th Annual LGBTQ Pride Celebration, presented by Jersey Pride, in Asbury Park, NJ!— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) June 3, 2019
🏳️🌈➡️ https://t.co/Gur2sXsBxv#SoccerForAll | #RBNY pic.twitter.com/L0Tif9kFli
MLS academies tend to leave no stone unturned when it comes to scouting, an approach the Red Bulls have taken in their own back yard. In partnership with public schools in Newark, New Jersey, the club awarded several scholarships to their Regional Development Schools.
Through the Soccer For Success program with Newark Public Schools, we joined their recent jamboree to award scholarships to our @RedBullsAcademy Regional Development Schools @NewYorkRedBulls x @NPSVoices x @ussoccerfndn#SoccerForAll | #RBNY pic.twitter.com/ArtMEllPg7— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) June 13, 2019
The annual Pride Parade in New York City had a RBNY contingent out in full force, one that helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots.
Sticking with the Stonewall theme, the Red Bulls also donated $5,000 to the New York Ramblers, the first organized openly-gay soccer club.
Luis Robles, the club's starting goalkeeper, also got out in the community to help unveil a mini pitch at Camden Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey.
"We don't just want to be a stadium in the community, we want to be part of the community." -Luis Robles— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) June 30, 2019
Proud to open yet another mini pitch, this one at Camden Street Elementary School in Newark, NJ!#RBNY pic.twitter.com/2oy8TsUeaE
#SoccerForAll means everyone is welcome, so we're rocking these special edition Pride pre-match tops for #ORLvLA.— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) May 23, 2019
You can grab yours tomorrow at the Den starting at 10:00 a.m. or you can order online right now: https://t.co/eDlsTZ2WK1 pic.twitter.com/Lbr8EJDLXt
The Union went all-out with a trio of Pride Weekend events, designed to help foster an environment of dignity and respect for all staff, players, partners and fans. The events were held in conjunction with the rousing June 8 home match against the New York Red Bulls.
🏳️🌈🗣 Spread the word - we're at 12th and Locust until 10pm tonight!— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 7, 2019
Come by and play some street soccer with us, @falconsoccer, @StonewallPhilly, & @Sean_Brace!#SoccerForAll | #Pride | #DOOP pic.twitter.com/2JcBt8ZiPJ
Matters started the evening of June 7 with a 5v5 Soccer in the Streets event at the corners of 12th and Locust streets in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Falcons – the only LGBTQA soccer club in the Philly area – were there, along with Stonewall Sports, which provides recreational and educational events to Philly's LGBTQIA+ community.
They also celebrated Pride night at the game on June 8.
Then on June 9, the Union and Sons of Ben supporters’ group marched in the 2019 Philadelphia Pride Parade for the second consecutive year.
The Portland Timbers and sister NWSL club Portland Thorns FC today announced on May 16 a new expanded partnership with Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR), with SOOR volunteers selling tickets as part of the 50/50 raffle program, offering SOOR the opportunity to promote and raise funds for their organization, and Providence Park playing host to three Special Olympics events between June and November 2019.
We are thrilled to announce a new expanded partnership with Special Olympics Oregon, including the 50/50 Raffle program, and three events at Providence Park this year.— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) May 16, 2019
DETAILS | https://t.co/DOXjiSuvBE | #RCTID pic.twitter.com/M2oris06iu
Throughout select matches, SOOR volunteers will sell tickets with 50 percent of the gross proceeds collected going to one randomly selected fan, while the remaining proceeds net of the raffle expenses will support the mission of SOOR and Stand Together’s Fields for All initiative with Operation Pitch Invasion. Select raffles throughout the summer also will be multi-day rollover jackpots from both the Timbers and Thorns FC games.
Further strengthening the partnership with the clubs and SOOR, Providence Park will play host to the 2019 SOOR Summer Soccer Invitational presented by Daimler on June 7-8, the second leg of the Unified Sports match, presented by Providence Health & Services, between the SOOR Timbers and Special Olympics Washington Sounders (Aug. 23) and the Fall Games presented by Providence Health & Services on Nov. 16.
Outside back Zarek Valentin and others got in on the Portland Social Change Cup, too.
The Timbers also hosted their Pride Night on June 22 against Houston, wearing the special warm-up tops and releasing an epic tifo in celebration.
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
The Earthquakes held their Pride Night on June 8 at Avaya Stadium against FC Dallas. On the field, the team used rainbow corner flags and rainbow nets, and raised a rainbow flag.
Soccer For All.— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) June 8, 2019
CenturyLink Field is known for having a 12th-man flag that overhangs the stadium. In honor of Pride Month, goalkeeper Bryan Meredith and defender John Campbell helped turn that into a Pride-inspired flag.
For last weekend's 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle also went all-out for Pride month with their pre-game march to the stadium and more.
During the Vancouver win, Seattle also had plenty of rainbow-inspired nods to Pride Month.
It's not often that we hear directly from players in an unfiltered way, but that's exactly what Bryan Meredith did in a first-person letter about Pride Month.
“As an ally, it’s never about me, but as someone with a platform, it’s up to me.”— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) June 29, 2019
With Pride Month upon us, @bryanmeredith1 offers an open letter on inclusion. 💚
READ ➡️ https://t.co/maGmMINGrv pic.twitter.com/PiUsISMVlr
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City celebrated Soccer For All on May 29 against the LA Galaxy. They wore the pride prematch top...
Like the 2019 primary jersey, Parley jersey and Retro top, Sporting’s Pride top was unveiled through imagery captured at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Sporting players will also wear the Pride top before road matches at Toronto FC on June 7 and Real Salt Lake on June 29.
During the May 29 game, they unveiled a Pride-themed tifo and choreography.
On June 22, Sporting hosted a #SoccerForAll abilities clinic.
TFC hosted their Pride Night on June 7, supporting #YouCanPlay. The players wore the Pride warmup tops and used rainbow corner flags.
Can we talk about these pride tops from Friday night 😍🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/UyIIdI92GU— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) June 9, 2019
Can we talk about these pride tops from Friday night 😍🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/UyIIdI92GU— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) June 9, 2019
An Ali Adnan stunner wasn't the only talking point from when the Vancouver Whitecaps hosted FC Dallas in the final weekend in May. The 2-1 win was highlighted by multi-colored nets, special rainbow uniform numbers and rainbow scarfs. It was a Pride Match party in the Pacific Northwest.