Play Proud

Providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ communities

Providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ communities

Globally, LGBTQ+ communities face discrimination both on and off the pitch. LGBTQ+ discrimination comes in many forms—ranging from homophobic chants in the stands to laws that criminalise LGBTQ+ identities.

Play Proud is a grassroots-driven program that works with all stakeholders in soccer to make communities and stadiums a safer space for the LGBTQ+ community. Play Proud transforms soccer clubs and organisations around the world by equipping coaches and staff with the skills and knowledge to ensure that LGBTQ+ inclusion is championed, on and off the pitch.

Play Proud recognises that everyone has the ability to provide allyship and support to LGBTQ+ people. The programme seeks to equip coaches, staff, and club representatives with the skills and knowledge to be mentors to LGBTQ+ youth, allies in their workplaces, and champions of inclusion in their communities.

Since the pilot project, Play Proud has expanded globally, training 50 coaches from 13 countries around the world. In 2020/2021, Play Proud trained 23 coaches from 7 countries across Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. In 2022, Common Goal is bringing together grassroot soccer organisations, fan groups and professional soccer clubs from the MLS, NWSL, USL, Liga MX, and CPL to UNITE the North American continent and promote LGBTQ+ inclusion ahead of the FIFA Men’s Football World Cup in 2026.

The Goal

To create safe sporting spaces for LGBTQ+ communities across the world.

The Strategy

To implement an LGBTQ+ inclusivity training program that works with all stakeholders in soccer to create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and communities.

How it Works

Coaches and Mentors are trained in the Play Proud methodology to offer LGBTQ+ inclusive programming to young people from some of the most underserved communities in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Challenge

There are a lack of inclusive and safe spaces for young people to participate in football, which leads to...
Reduced Participation
Reduced participation in sports of young people from LGBTQ+ community.
Feelings of Alienation
LGBTQ+ young people are often alienated and rejected from sports with 4 out of 5 LGBTQ+ youth not out to their coaches.
Increased Vulnerability
LGBTQ+ youth that lack mentors have a greater chance of exposure to drugs and alcohol at a young age, lower academic performance, and suicide.

Solution

To make all football spaces safe, inclusive and welcoming to all, regardless of one's gender identity and/or sexual orientation
Leadership Development
Implement LGBTQ+ inclusivity training to staff
LGBTQ+ Knowledge Acquisition
Deliver a methodology to give participants the tools and knowledge to create safe spaces for in their organisations and programmes.
Train the Trainer Theory
Increase advocacy of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.

Impact

As a result of implementation, the impact and outcomes of Play Proud are felt in the short, mid and long terms:
Staff become inclusion advocates
Coaches & staff use the skills and knowledge they learnt to make their programmes more inclusive.
Organisations become more inclusive
Participants use their newly gained skills to make organisations more intentional about inclusivity through programmatic and policy changes.
Sports become safe and inclusive for all
Youth from all backgrounds benefit from inclusive sport for development programmes
Challenge
There are a lack of inclusive and safe spaces for young people to participate in football, which leads to...
Reduced Participation
Reduced participation in sports of young people from LGBTQ+ community.
Feelings of Alienation
LGBTQ+ young people are often alienated and rejected from sports with 4 out of 5 LGBTQ+ youth not out to their coaches.
Increased Vulnerability
LGBTQ+ youth that lack mentors have a greater chance of exposure to drugs and alcohol at a young age, lower academic performance, and suicide.
Solution
To make all football spaces safe, inclusive and welcoming to all, regardless of one's gender identity and/or sexual orientation
Leadership Development
Implement LGBTQ+ inclusivity training to staff
LGBTQ+ Knowledge Acquisition
Deliver a methodology to give participants the tools and knowledge to create safe spaces for in their organisations and programmes.
Train the Trainer Theory
Increase advocacy of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.
Impact
As a result of implementation, the impact and outcomes of Play Proud are felt in the short, mid and long terms:
Staff become inclusion advocates
Coaches & staff use the skills and knowledge they learnt to make their programmes more inclusive.
Organisations become more inclusive
Participants use their newly gained skills to make organisations more intentional about inclusivity through programmatic and policy changes.
Sports become safe and inclusive for all
Youth from all backgrounds benefit from inclusive sport for development programmes
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