United Soccer League Launches Forever Proud Project

Friday April 16, 2021

Amid an alarmingly growing trend to discriminate against transgender athletes, one professional sports league is elevating its stand on inclusivity. United Soccer League (USL) has announced the creation of the Forever Proud Project, an ongoing, year-round initiative designed to increase inclusivity, education, and awareness for the LGBTQ community.

Kicking off May 17 -- International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia -- the project aims to create opportunities and promote LGBTQ inclusivity across USL communities and will activate initiatives around key awareness dates throughout the year.

"Forever Proud project is a good first step in a long-term journey towards creating a more inclusive soccer community," said USL Senior Vice President Lizzie Seedhouse. "It's our hope, this project can make a difference and increase visibility, awareness, and inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community. We will work hard to ensure that their voices are heard and valued."

USL already established key partnerships with various organizations and brands, including You Can Play Project, which strives to ensure the safety and inclusion of LGBTQ people throughout the sports ecosystem; Football v Homophobia, which works toward removing LGBTQ discrimination and prejudice; LGBTQ affinity group HomeField Alliance; and PUMA x The Trevor Project, which will deliver educational resources to support the mental health of LGBTQ young people and promote inclusive sports participation.

The USL, in collaboration with the USLBPA and the USL Players' Association, is also working with the Institute for Sport and Social Justice to conduct comprehensive sensitivity and unconscious bias training for all USL HQ and club staff, players, and other full-time employees.