The gay4soccer 2011 Year in Review
2011 was a landmark year for soccer in the US, and for gay landmarks within the sport. Here’s what stood out for us here at gay4soccer:
March 9 – Swedish football player Anton Hysén becomes the second active professional soccer player to come out of the closet. Later in the year he is connected with Sporting Kansas City and the Vancouver Whitecaps for the 2012 season but he then commented on his blog that he will be staying in Sweden.
July 17 – Although the U.S. Women’s National Team loses to Japan in penalty kicks in the final match of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, their campaign gains huge exposure for the team on numerous television programs. In the fall goalkeeper Hope Solo is featured as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.
July 23 – Chivas USA hosts the first Equality Night ever in MLS. Forward Justin Braun (now with Montreal) and midfielder Michael Lahoud are both photographed by the NOH8 Campaign for the event, the second and third soccer players to do so following Mike Chabala in 2010. They are also the first pro teammates to pose together.
July 23 – The Columbus Crew join with a gay publishing company to host the Pride Cup. It is believed to be the first tournament for teams of gay players to be hosted by an American professional sports team.
July 25 – “I’m Gay for MLS” makes its debut on Tumblr, eventually leading to this very fine site you are now reading.
July 29 – A day after Bob Bradley is fired from the post, Jurgen Klinsmann is announced as the new head coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team. The USA struggled to find its footing in 2011, with a disappointing loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.
August 11 – Seattle Sounders forwards Roger Levesque and Mike Fucito join other pro athletes in a city-wide video for the It Gets Better Project, becoming the first pro soccer players to participate in the campaign targeted at LGBT youth and started by Seattle’s own Dan Savage.
August 17 – DC United becomes the first MLS team to produce a video for the It Gets Better project, featuring forward Josh Wolff and midfielder Clyde Simms.
August 27 – Women’s Professional Soccer newcomers the Western New York Flash defeat the Philadelphia Independence in the League’s Championship Game. Season 3 ended with questions surrounding the league’s future, but it was sanctioned by U.S. Soccer as a Division 1 league for 2012 on December 13.
November 10 – Former Columbus Crew midfielder David Testo becomes the first American professional soccer player to come out of the closet in an interview with Radio Canada. He was released by the Montreal Impact following their NASL season as part of their preparations for the jump to MLS and is as yet unsigned for 2012, but has also not retired.
November 20 – In what may be the end of the Beckham era in MLS the DP trio of Donovan, Keane, and Beckham combine to score the only goal in the L.A. Galaxy’s defeat of the Houston Dynamo in the Championship Game of MLS Cup 2011.
What were your highlights of 2011 in American soccer, gay or otherwise?