Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
'Gay, Lesbian and Ally' page launched by NSCAA
by Mike Woitalla, January 7th, 2014 12:48AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  nscaa, youth boys, youth girls

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla

The NSCAA has added a remarkable piece to its array of resources by launching a “Gay, Lesbian and Ally” page on its web site.

“We have to make it clear the association stands for the acceptance of everyone,” says NSCAA president Jack Huckel, who appointed Dan Woog to head the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) committee.

Huckel says reports of hazing and harassment were part of the impetus to launch the page but it’s also just another part of the NSCAA’s quest to improve coaching.

“The goal of the NSCAA is to make people better coaches,” says Woog. “If a kid is dealing with any issues that prevent him from focusing, he’s not going to be as good a player as he could be. He’s not going to be able to contribute what he could and that impacts the entire team.”

The first of the Frequently Asked Questions on the site is: “I’m not sure why this should be an issue for the NSCAA. Who cares if someone is gay?”

The answer: “You’re exactly right. It doesn’t make a difference if someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). We’re simply providing resources for LGBT athletes and coaches -- and all allies -- so that everyone who plays soccer is assured of all the support they’ll need.

“All coaches want to do the right thing for all athletes -- but they don’t always know how. This information will help all LGBT coaches and athletes feel more comfortable, which means they’ll perform better. It will also help all ‘straight ally’ coaches help them -- becoming better, more successful coaches in the process.”

That gay professional athletes are so reluctant to come out demonstrates the degree of homophobia in sports. David Testo, after a decade of pro ball, came out one month after he was released by the NASL’s Montreal Impact in 2011. Robbie Rogers came out last year after he announced his retirement following a stint with Leeds United. But Rogers returned with the Los Angeles Galaxy, becoming the first openly gay male athlete in a major U.S. pro league.

Both offered insight into their childhoods. Testo, who cited among the reasons for coming out reports of a high rate of suicide among gay teens, said, "I kind of hated myself. When you’re told gay people are sinners and are going to burn in eternal hell and you’re a child, what are you supposed to feel?” Rogers said: "You grow up learning that who you are isn't natural, or is a sin. It does have an impact -- it scares you, it really scares you."

The NSCAA site provides "One-on-One LGBT Support" as well as links to LGBTQ programs and projects. Anticipated questions include, "My player just came out to me, what do I do next?" or "Should I come out to my team?"

For anyone who coaches for a significant amount of time, the odds are they will have on their team gay or lesbian players. They will have straight players on their teams who have gay relatives. Thus the FAQs make for valuable reading.

“The point is not to have kids come out before they’re ready,” says Woog. “The kid wants to be on the soccer field. He looks up to his coach. The time he puts in is really important to him. So coaches need tools -- what they say, what they don’t say, the words they use, the examples they use -- to create an atmosphere where all kids feel comfortable to achieve to their potential.”

NSCAA “Gay, Lesbian and Ally” Page

This year’s NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia will include, on Jan. 17, a 10:30 am workshop: “Create Safe Space for LGBT Athletes: Be a Winning Coach” with a panel including Dan Woog (boys varsity coach, Staples High School/author on LGBT issues); Mike Bryant (Center for Leadership in Athletics, University of Washington): Erin DeMarco (head coach, Bryn Mawr College) and Atticus DeProspo (Cornell University varsity player).

(Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, is co-author, with Tim Mulqueen, of The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper and co-author with Claudio Reyna of More Than Goals: The Journey from Backyard Games to World Cup Competition. Woitalla's youth soccer articles are archived at YouthSoccerFun.com.)

Soccer America on Twitter: Follow Soccer America | Mike Woitalla



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Screaming at Children -- A Ref's Eye View     
It's amazing that no matter how many games you ref, no matter how much you prepare ...
Is it OK to play in pain?     
"What's the difference between discomfort and pain? And is it OK for me to keep playing ...
The benefits of pool play vs. traditional leagues for U-10s     
The Youth Soccer Insider asked Sam Snow, Technical Director of U.S. Youth Soccer, to explain the ...
Ref Watch: Why three is so much better than one     
When I moved to Florida for business 27 years ago, I lived and worked in Orlando ...
Tab Ramos auditions new talent for U-20 World Cup     
Coach Tab Ramos has called up three players to the U.S. U-20 national team, which is ...
George Altirs boosts New Jersey-area youth ball     
As a boy, George Altirs spent his free time playing as much soccer as possible in ...
Are tire crumbs on fields a cancer threat?    
Some environmental and health advocacy groups have claimed that the crumb rubber infill, used in artificial ...
A World Cup for Richie Williams, better late than never     
Richie Williams might just be the USA's most successful player who never played in a World ...
USA avoids debacle in U-17 World Cup qualifying    
Ultimately, the USA's quest to qualify for the 2015 Under-17 World Cup hinged on shots from ...
Americans down to one last chance at U-17 World Cup qualifying    
One of the U.S. national team program's consistencies for nearly three decades was that the USA ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives