9 Professional Soccer Players Stand Up For LGBT Rights in Advance of the Women’s World Cup

A group of 9 women’s professional soccer players join Athlete Ally today to support LGBT inclusion and equality in sports. These athletes join 21 other Olympic and professional women’s soccer players as Athlete Ally Ambassadors, making women’s soccer the largest contributor to Athlete Ally’s Professional Ambassador Program, with a total of 30 athletes.

U.S. Women’s National Team mid-fielder, Megan Rapinoe and retired U.S. Women’s National Team player, Lori Lindsey spearheaded the involvement of the new Ambassadors, who join the program in advance of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this week to amplify their commitment to equal rights and fair play in soccer. The leadership of these athletes marks a significant step toward addressing the often-underrepresented issue of homophobia and transphobia in women’s sports.

Among these 30 soccer Ambassadors, 11 are competing in the World Cup for teams including the national teams for Australia, Canada, England, Sweden, and the U.S.

The new Ambassadors include:

  • Yael Averbuch, FC Kansas City
  • Jess Fishlock, Seattle Reign FC
  • Dani Foxhoven, Seattle Reign FC
  • Michelle Heyman, Australia National team
  • Ali Krieger, U.S. National Team
  • Joanna Lohman, Washington Spirit
  • Becky Sauerbrunn, U.S. National Team
  • Casey Stoney, England National Team
  • Beverly Yanez, Seattle Reign FC

Over 100 professional athletes serve as Athlete Ally Ambassadors. The complete list can be viewed here. These players help promote LGBT rights and respect by speaking out and encouraging their peers, coaches, and fans to do the same. Most recently, Athlete Ally mobilized its Ambassadors to urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to stand against Kazakhstan’s proposed anti-LGBT propaganda bill. Kazakhstan, which is vying for the 2022 Winter Olympic host bid, dropped its discriminatory bill soon after the IOC issued a pro-LGBT statement responding to Athlete Ally’s letter. The organization has also engaged ambassadors to congratulate LGBT athletes as they come out, sign amicus briefs in support of marriage equality, speak-up against anti-LGBT laws in the U.S. including the recent religious refusal law in Indiana, among other kinds of LGBT affirming advocacy.

Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally Hudson Taylor said of this announcement, “These athletes are using the visibility of their World Cup to stand for something bigger than themselves. That’s what Athlete Ally is all about – upholding the values of sport by advocating for the rights of all. It’s a privilege to work with these incredible athletes.”

“It’s great to see advocacy for LGBT inclusion continue to spread across the women’s professional soccer community,” said retired U.S. National Team midfielder, Lori Lindsey. “Allyship is not only about being a good teammate on the field. It’s also needed off the field to support communities facing discrimination. I’m proud to work with Athlete Ally to foster a culture of Allyship, because sports should provide an inclusive and positive experience for all people.”

“I’m proud to be part of a women’s soccer community that believes in the principles of respect and inclusion,” said U.S. National Team midfielder, Megan Rapinoe. “While we constitute a growing voice in support of LGBT equality, there are still too many areas within and beyond sport where people do not feel they can be true to who they are. Through our support for Athlete Ally, we know that collectively and individually we are making a difference in creating an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging, on and off the pitch.”

Quotes and profiles of each Athlete Ally Ambassador are available here on Athlete Ally’s website.