TAMPA, Fla. - The United Soccer League (USL) has announced LGBTQ+ inclusivity and Anti-Racism training for all Academy and Super Y League (SYL) coaches and club administrators through the Forever Proud Project and United Against Racism Commitment.
The character development training will equip coaches and team administrators with the tools to challenge discriminatory language and behavior head-on at their clubs, stress the negative impact of homophobia and racism on a player’s mental health, and educate participants on how to create environments where all feel welcome. Continued growth and development of coaches, players and administrators are key tenets for the Academy and SYL and this training will be the first of many initiatives that further aligns the youth and pre-professional properties to the standards and values upheld by the professional leagues at the USL.
“This is an important step in eliminating hate in our sport and society,” said Lizzie Seedhouse, USL Sr. Vice President, who was instrumental in the development of the Forever Proud Project and serves on the league’s Impact Committee. “These two leagues reach 11,000-plus players in over 100 communities across the U.S and by empowering our Academy and Super Y leaders with the right tools and resources, they can help make a meaningful impact to our athletes; giving them the capacity to succeed as players and thrive as individuals by being free to live as their most authentic selves.”
The first in this series of trainings will be hosted by The Forever Proud Project partner, Football v Homophobia. The partnership will help to develop cultural comprehension and grassroots programming to remove discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity throughout the USL Academy and SYL ecosystem, impacting thousands of young athletes across the country.
Both United Against Racism and The Forever Proud Project were borne out of the USL Impact Committee and launched earlier in 2021. The Forever Proud Project exists to create safer and more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ members of the USL family by generating greater visibility and inclusivity. It boasts partners such as Puma and The Trevor Project, You Can Play Project, Football v Homophobia, and Homefield Alliance. The United Against Racism Commitment was established in conjunction with the USL Black Players Alliance (USLBPA) and serves as an organization-wide initiative inclusive of all Black, Indigenous, LatinX, AAPI, people of color, and any other community experiencing racism.