This year, the Club is partnering 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 will be hosting a pre-game panel at NYCFC’s Pride Match to discuss the power of LGBTQ inclusion in and through sport. Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director Hudson Taylor will serve as moderator and panelists, including Matt Pacifici, retired MLS (Columbus Crew) goalkeeper and Athlete Ally Pro Ambassador, will provide their unique perspectives on LGBTQ inclusion and how to lead in both sport and LGBTQ advocacy. Hudson Taylor will also be recognized as NYCFC’s Hero of the Match presented by Your Local Ford Stores on the field before kickoff.
On the pitch, team captain Alex Ring will wear a rainbow captain’s armband as a show of support and the First Team squad will wear adidas Pride training tops during warmups, the pre-game procession and national anthem on Pride Match. These tops will then be worn again when the squad walks out on the pitch for all remaining home games in June. Additionally, on June 6, the numbers of NYCFC’s jerseys will be changed to a rainbow pattern – a first in Club history. These special edition player-worn shirts and other in-stadium Pride memorabilia will then be donated to CITC, Athlete Ally and other Pride-related groups after the match.
This year for fans, NYCFC will again have Pride-themed merchandise. New Era hats, a custom-designed t-shirt and a scarf inspired by the vibrancy and spirit of NYC will be available for purchase in the team store.
Before and during the match, there will also be a number of Pride-themed in-stadium elements, including:
For a third year in a row, Tonewall – the premier pop a cappella band of the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus – will return to the Bronx to sing the national anthem
The Tunnel of Honor and Color Guard will feature members of the NYPD Gay Officers Action League
The NYCFC smoke stacks, corner flags and procession flags will all feature special Pride designs
TV personality and LGBTQ advocate Natalie Negrotti will be setting off the smoke stacks
Ladies Village Soccer, an adult LGBTQ soccer team in NYC, will also be joining NYCFC for the Club’s Pride Match and will be hosting a fundraiser for Soccer 4 Hope, an organization that uses soccer to help girls in underserved communities.
Pride 2019 | The Ladies Village Soccer Club
Brad Sims, CEO of NYCFC, said: “As New York City’s soccer team, it’s important for our Club to be a part of making our sport more representative. For three years in a row, we have hosted a Pride Match, our largest LGBTQ celebration of the year, but inclusion is something we strive to live and support year-round. This year, we are proud to partner with Athlete Ally to continue to help remove obstacles to inclusion through the power of soccer.”
NYCFC’s 2019 Pride Match follows three years of activity with expert groups in the community and NYCFC’s ongoing participation in the MLS Soccer For All campaign. In 2018, CITC teamed up with streetfootballworld to support Play Proud, a new curriculum for coaches that is designed to help young LGBTQ athletes feel safe and supported, both on and off the field. Also, one of the CITC participants was featured in a Fox Sports video highlighting LGBTQ youth. View the powerful story here. In 2017, CITC partnered with Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) – the nation’s largest LGBTQ youth services agency – to provide local teens a safe, inclusive space to openly discuss LGBTQ-specific topics through a pioneer series of HMI-led inclusivity workshops.
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