Minnesota United FC players, staff sign Athlete Ally pledge
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Athlete Ally, a leading organization working to raise awareness and end homophobia in sports, is proud to announce that 12 team members of Minnesota United Football Club as well as the head coach and assistant coach have joined the Athlete Ally Ambassador Program, which now includes 16 professional soccer players, and nearly 30 professional athletes.
Athletes Miguel Ibarra, Kevin Friedland, Connor Tobin, Brian Kallman, Pablo Campos, Travis Wall, Justin Davis, Kentaro Takada, Max Griffin, Etienne Barbara, Simone Bracalello and team captain Kyle Altman have all signed on as Athlete Ally Ambassadors. In addition, head coach Manny Lagos, longtime pro and former member of the United States Men’s National Team, and assistant coach Carl Craig have joined.
All these men bring exceptional resumes to the table, and many have played around the world for their respective universities and nations. Etienne Barbara was in fact the MVP of the North American Soccer League in 2011 and Pablo Campos won the same honor in 2012. Kyle Altman was the 2012 NASL Best XI honoree.
Athlete Ally Advisory board member Nick Rogers is the president of the club, and is an incredible advocate for respect and inclusion in the North American Soccer League.
“We are developing our advisory board to engage even more diverse voices in the conversation about LGBT inclusion in sports,” says Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Nick activating 12 of his players in less than a week of joining the advisory board is incredibly impressive. All of these young men have fans of their own, are world-class athletes, and are catalysts for progress among the international soccer community.”
Rogers said that he knew many of his players would gladly join the Athlete Ally cause. “These guys are the type of athletes that work incredibly hard, and inspire younger players across the country. Now they’ll do their best to inspire these same soccer fans to treat LGBT athletes with the respect they deserve.”
As Athlete Ally Ambassadors, the Minnesota United players join NBA star Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Brendon Ayanbadejo (Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens,) Chris Kluwe (Minnesota Vikings), Scott Fujita (Cleveland Browns), Connor Barwin (Philadelphia Eagles), NFL free agent Donte Stallworth, UFC fighter Rashad Evans, WNBA player Kristi Toliver (Los Angeles Sparks) MLS stars Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Stephen McCarthy and Chris Seitz, Dan Grunfeld (Israeli Basketball), and four Australians in rugby stars David Pocock and James Hilterbrand, Australian Rules Football player Brock McLean, and World-Champion cricketer Alex Blackwell along with scores of college athletes who have already signed on. They will act as liaisons between the organization and their teams, help promote Athlete Ally’s mission to end homophobia in sports by speaking out to their league and fan base, and encouraging their colleagues to join in the effort.
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