When the United States takes the field in June, they will do so with a unique look. To celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, U.S. Soccer is partnering with the You Can Play Project to roll out several initiatives centered around promoting equality and inclusion for all athletes, coaches and fans. As part of that partnership, the USMNT and USWNT will wear jerseys adorned with rainbow-themed numbers during their June friendly matches. The USMNT will wear the jerseys in Salt Lake City June 3rd when they take on Venezuela in a pre-World Cup qualifying tune up, while the USWNT will wear the jerseys during friendlies on June 8th in Sweden and June 11th in Norway.
This isn’t the first time the pride rainbow has appeared on the field during a U.S. Soccer match. Last June during the Copa America Centenario, Michael Bradley famously wore a rainbow captain’s armband during the USMNT’s quarterfinal match against Ecuador, a personal act of tribute to honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando that occurred a few days prior. The gesture led to a swell of tributes and fundraising by fans for the shooting victims and to show support for a reeling LGBTQ community.
U.S. Soccer is not the only organization or league to use their uniforms to promote awareness for a cause or to show support for a group of people. Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA have all had teams wear special jerseys or uniform accessories to promote a cause or to bring awareness to a disease or disability. This is a wonderful initiative by U.S. Soccer and its national teams to show fans from all walks of life that have felt excluded from sports that not only is their support always welcome at U.S. Soccer events, but that their national team plays for them as well.
Support for the national team knows no color, no creed, no sexual or gender orientation, and when the MNT and WNT take the field in June, they will support those fans in a truly bold way. Good on U.S. Soccer for their continual efforts to raise awareness and promote inclusion and acceptance for fans from all backgrounds.