North Carolina Football Club Partner with LGBT Center of Raleigh, Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce and Athlete Ally to Celebrate Pride
Plans include a Pride festival, community partnered events and Pride-themed merchandise benefitting local LGBTQ organizations.
Cary, NC (June 1, 2022) – The North Carolina Football Club has announced plans to celebrate Pride in partnership with the LGBT Center of Raleigh and Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce, including Pride Night matches for North Carolina FC on Saturday, July 9 and for the NC Courage on Friday, July 15.
“Our club is proud to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, including our fans and players, in June and all year long,” said North Carolina Football Club President Francie Gottsegen. “We are excited to announce this initiative — powered by both local and national organizations — which includes community, in-stadium and digital programs designed to celebrate and unite our diverse fan base.”
The club will host a Pride festival on Friday, July 15 ahead of the Courage’s match against Angel City at 7:30 p.m. ET. The festival will take place at WakeMed Soccer Park and will feature local LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+-friendly businesses, artists and entertainers, as well as kid-friendly activities. The festival will also include members of Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce, a mission-driven non-profit fostering opportunities for LGBTQ+ businesses, professionals & allies.
“We appreciate and applaud the North Carolina Football Club’s ongoing, year-round commitment and support of the LGBTQ+ community!” said Kade Kimber, President of Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce. “We know the courage it takes for so many LGBTQ+ individuals and business owners to openly live their truth each day. We look forward to celebrating that unwavering courage alongside our allies in the inclusive, supportive environment that Pride Night embodies. After all, #CourageUnitesUs!”
During the Courage’s Pride match against Angel City on July 15, NC Courage players will wear Pride jerseys, in addition to Pride pre-match tops prior to the game.
“I’m excited about the club’s plans and their commitment to celebrating Pride this season and for years to come,” Courage defender Merritt Mathias shared. “To witness the evolution of the league’s Pride celebration as a whole is a beautiful thing to experience. When I first entered the league 10 years ago, the platform to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community looked very different for this league, its players and fans. Today, to have the support from each and every club to participate in a Pride Game doesn’t mean something … it means everything. Representation Matters. Inclusivity Matters. We Matter.”
NCFC players will also wear Pride pre-match tops ahead of their Pride celebration match on Saturday, July 9 against Union Omaha at 7 p.m. ET.
“It is very important to celebrate Pride month,” NCFC captain Jordan Skelton said. “Any opportunity we have to build equality and share love amongst one another is of great importance, and Pride month allows us to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Players, coaches, staff, and fans all play a part in North Carolina FC, and so it is our responsibility to do everything we can to unite, celebrate, and welcome everyone – and I mean absolutely everyone – into the NCFC family.”
NC Courage Pride jerseys, as well as both Courage and NCFC team-specific Pride t-shirts and scarves, will be available for purchase online and in-stadium throughout the year, with proceeds going towards the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
LOCAL COMMUNITY EVENTS
The club will participate in the Apex Pride Festival on June 11, the LGBT Center of Raleigh’s Pride festival, OUT! Raleigh, on June 25, and other Triangle area Pride festivals throughout the year. The club’s Pride initiatives will also include celebration of LGBTQ History Month in October, National Coming Out Day on October 11, as well as partnerships with local GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances).
“The North Carolina Football Club is doing so much to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities and demonstrate its commitment of full equality for all LGBTQ+ people,” notes LGBT Center of Raleigh Interim Executive Director Dolph Goldenburg, “And we are excited to partner with NCFC on these important initiatives.”
The club will create player panel discussions around inclusivity, streamed live on Instagram and hosted by Athlete Ally, an organization focused on building inclusive communities for LGBTQI+ athletes through sport.
“Athlete Ally is grateful to be partnering with The North Carolina Football Club this Pride, including through critical discussions on how athletes can drive forward LGBTQI+ inclusion in and through sports,” Athlete Ally’s Chief of Staff, AC Dumlao said. “We’ve seen the power athletes can have in mobilizing the sports community to champion equality, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to maximize impact together.”
The club has also partnered with EDGE Media Network, the world’s largest network of local LGBTQ+ news and entertainment publications, to highlight player and club stories in a series of written editorial pieces throughout the season. Other media support includes the club sponsoring a curated list of local LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+-friendly businesses in RalToday’s digital newsletter.
Tickets for NCFC’s Pride match on Saturday, July 9 at 7 p.m. ET against Union Omaha are available here. Tickets for the Courage Pride match on Friday, July 15th at 7:30 p.m. ET against Angel City can be purchased here.
About the North Carolina Courage:
The North Carolina Courage are a Division I professional women’s soccer team that play in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The NC Courage play home games at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The team was established in January 2017 after owner Steve Malik acquired the Western New York Flash following their 2016 NWSL Championship season and moved the team to North Carolina. Since relocating to Cary, the NC Courage have won three consecutive NWSL Shields, the inaugural Women’s ICC Championship, the 2018 and 2019 NWSL Championships and the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Championship.
About North Carolina FC:
North Carolina FC are a professional men’s soccer team that play in USL League One. NCFC play their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The organization is the largest youth-to-pro club in the nation and is the parent organization of North Carolina FC, the North Carolina Courage (NWSL), and North Carolina FC Youth. The club is owned by local entrepreneur, Steve Malik, and managed by club president Francie Gottsegen and longtime soccer executive Curt Johnson. North Carolina Football Club was established in 2016 to bring the highest levels of men’s and women’s professional soccer to the state.
About LGBT Center of Raleigh
The LGBT Center of Raleigh exists to serve, empower, and advocate for the well-being of our diverse LGBTQ+ communities. We work to achieve our mission through six program initiatives, each with its own unique focus but with important inter-initiative overlap:
· Youth and Family Initiative
· Older Adult Initiative
· Transgender Initiative
· Queer Life Initiative
· HealthWorks Initiative
· Education and Training Initiative
About Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce
Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce (formerly RBPN) is the official affiliate chapter of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) responsible for the LGBT+ business and professional community within the eastern 50 counties of North Carolina. Harmony fosters opportunities for LGBT+ businesses, professionals, and allies to come together in support of business growth, education, and connectivity.
Supported by hundreds of individuals, businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, and corporate partners, Harmony helps bring a voice to a historically marginalized community that is a vital part of North Carolina’s economy and workforce! Learn more at harmonync.org.
About Athlete Ally
As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQI+ people in sport. Athlete Ally educates individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQI+ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. They work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents, and they incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQI+ equality in and through sport.