Last season the United Soccer Coaches Association’s LGBT Coaches and Allies Advocacy Group created “Play With Pride Week.”
The initiative was designed for teams to show their support for inclusivity for the athletes and coaches of all sexual orientations by wearing rainbow laces. Only one PACWEST team participated last season, the Douglas Royals women’s program.
After seeing the North American success of the program, the United Soccer Coaches will host the second annual week which begins this weekend and the entire PACWEST will show their support. As a matter of fact all eight PACWEST teams will participate by wearing rainbow laces.
For the PACWEST Athletic Directors with soccer programs, it was a no brainer to take part;
“Sports have always been so much more than what happens on the pitch, field, court or arena,” said Jake McCallum of the Langara Falcons. “Sport brings together people from all different walks of life to unite and strive towards a common goal. We feel strongly about building an inclusive environment in the Langara Athletics department and taking part in the Play with Pride initiative is another way that we can support inclusivity and hopefully effect societal change.”
Milt Williams of the Capilano Blues says, “Capilano University Blues supports the rainbow laces initiative which is raising awareness about inclusivity in sport. CapU believes in ensuring all athletes—regardless of sexual orientation—are entitled to equality, respect and safety. We welcome you and we support you. It’s really that simple.”
“For us at Douglas College it is important to let everyone know you are welcomed here no matter who you are,” says Brian McLennon of the Douglas Royals. “Sport has always provided an opportunity to bringing about positive societal change. It serves as the great equalizer, it doesn’t matter who you are, your colour, your gender, your identity, your social economic background, the only thing that really matters is whether you have talent and you can play. DO you?”
Watch for the rainbow laces on the pitch on Saturday when the Royals visit the Falcons and the Blues entertain the VIU Mariners.
Ryan Watters talks with Royals' assistant coach and former player Kelsey Acaster who has been a major part of organizing Play With Pride Week.