The US men’s team shows their support for the LGBTQ community through a rainbow-themed logo at their training center in Qatar as they prepare for this month’s World Cup.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar, and the host country has been the subject of criticism for its LGBTQ policies as the World Cup approaches.
The design features seven rainbow-colored vertical stripes below ‘USA’ in dark blue letters and is part of the ‘Be The Change’ initiative the team adopted in 2020 with the goal of driving action on social justice.
“When we’re on the global stage and when we’re in a venue like Qatar, it’s important to raise awareness for these issues and that’s what ‘Be the Change’ is about,” US coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters on Monday. a press conference. . “We want to draw attention to social issues not only in America, but also abroad. We recognize that Qatar has made progress and a lot of progress has been made, but there is still some work to be done.”
Organizers of the World Cup, being held for the first time in a Middle Eastern country, say everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or background, is welcome, while also warning against public displays of affection.
Some players have expressed concerns about the rights of fans traveling to this year’s World Cup, particularly LGBTQ individuals and women, whom human rights groups say are discriminated against by Qatari laws.
“We are a group that believes in inclusion and we will continue to carry that message into the future,” said US goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We have talked and continue to discuss as we lead into the games. We leaned on the message of ‘Be the Change’. That is something we are proud of and continue to work on, make an impact with ourselves, our presence and our platform, and we will continue to do so here in Qatar.”
The rainbow badge, which will not be worn by the team during World Cup matches, is routinely displayed by US Soccer as a way to promote a spirit of inclusiveness.
“Our rainbow badge plays an important and consistent role in US Soccer’s identity,” US Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told Reuters. “As part of our approach to every match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, and to promote a spirit of inclusion and welcome for all fans around the world.
“As a result, venues that we will manage and operate during the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media rooms and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow US Soccer branding.”
Meanwhile, Fulham defender Tim Ream and Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner are among the American players to receive congratulations from fictional coach Ted Lasso.
This week, giant yellow banners appeared in the home cities of the American players, each with a personalized message from Jason Sudeikis’ TV character.
Ted Lasso follows the protagonist of the same name, a former coach of the gridiron, as he takes over as coach of English football club AFC Richmond, despite having no experience of the game.
Ream’s message, posted on a billboard in St. Louis, Missouri, reads: “Tim, at the fair it’s said the lights don’t shine anywhere but St. Louis, so if you could send me one of your lightbulbs, I’d I’d like to check that out.
“You know what other shiny thing I can’t wait to see? You play in the big games. There should be a warning before the tournaments to load up on SPF and sunglasses to protect everyone from the Tim Ream beam, I know I’ll be doubling down on my visors.
“You tootsie wootsie, Ted Lasso.”
Lasso’s message to Arsenal goalkeeper Turner was posted outside his alma mater, Saint Joseph Regional High School in New Jersey.
Part of it read, “Sometimes the goal you train for turns into the train you strive for, you know? Choo-choo! Next stop: the games of all games! We take that track all the way to victory.
The US will begin their campaign against Wales on November 21.