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San Diego Wave FC partner in Common Goal “Play Proud United” initiative

The San Diego Wave join eight other teams in an initiative to combat LGBTQ+ discrimination in soccer.

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San Diego Wave FC

San Diego Wave FC have announced that they have joined Common Goal’s “Play Proud United” initiative as a founding member. The initiative is aimed at tackling homophobia and promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in boardrooms, locker rooms, and stands. The Wave will join teams from the NWSL, MLS, Liga MX, and the Canadian Premier League to launch a 12-month LGBTQ+ inclusion training program.

“We are happy to partner with Common Goal on this important initiative,” stated San Diego Wave FC president Jill Ellis in a team statement. “We have seen the evolution of LGBTQ+ visibility on the global and national stage and we are excited to implement this groundbreaking curriculum in our community.”

The Wave will launch this initiative in collaboration with eight other teams: Angel City FC, Tigres UANL, Chicago Fire FC, Oakland Roots, Pacific FC, Philadelphia Union, and the San Diego Loyal.

The Play Proud United program will include 100+ hours of in-person LGBTQ+ inclusion training by Common Goal and its partners, including Inside Inclusion, Impact International, and Stonewall UK. Every facet of these clubs will receive training; from the boardroom executives, first-team coaches, and players, to fan group representatives, and community-based academy coaches. The project will commence on April 11th in Los Angeles with the first 5-day residential event hosted by Angel City. The second residential event will take place in Mexico in December this year, hosted by Tigres.

Common Goal is a pledge-based charitable movement by streetfootballworld that was founded back in 2017. The movement’s founders are Jürgen Griesbeck and Spanish footballer Juan Mata. Mata also plays for Manchester United, which is where Casey Stoney plied her trade for nearly three years before leaving to coach the Wave in 2021. 230 athletes and managers have joined the Common Goal cause to date, including Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp. The movement helps fund a network of 150 different community organizations in 90 countries and assists more than two million young people.

As per Common Goal themselves, these teams that have joined the Play Proud program are the first clubs that have committed to working together to eradicate homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia while promoting inclusion in soccer and society. Their commitment also aligns with the build-up to the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

They will work in eight key soccer markets across the continent, and each club’s delegation will be joined by a leader of their supporter’s group and one community-based soccer coach from their city.

During an interview with The Athletic, coach Casey Stoney has spoken of the importance of this undertaking. In reference to the passing of legislation such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida along with a wave of anti-trans legislation in other states, Stoney stated that:

“It’s utterly depressing. I can’t believe we have gone back in time. I can’t believe it’s been voted in. I can’t believe it has been allowed.”

Stoney herself is a lesbian and came out back in 2014. She also states that she feels that for every four steps forward towards the furthering of LGBTQ rights, we have also taken “three steps backward.”

“With some of these conversations, I feel we have moved four steps forward in people being able to be authentically themselves and then we take three steps back by banning conversations. I have three kids and I want them to grow up, no matter who they are in life, knowing they can do anything they want and that it’s an inclusive world they live in.”

By helping to spearhead this movement, the Wave have shown that they are serious about fulfilling their mission of having a diverse vision. They have also shown that they are a team that works towards being inclusive towards everyone, no matter what their race, gender, or sexual orientation may be.

In addition to fulfilling their off-the-field missions, the team is also working on fulfilling their on-the-field ones. The Wave are currently training for their next game in the NWSL Challenge Cup against the OL Reign. The match will take place this Thursday at Lumen Field in Seattle. Kickoff time will be at 7 PM PST / 10 PM EST and you’ll be able to watch the game on Paramount +.

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