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Five Minnesota United players Playing for Pride, joined by others with local ties

The Loons hold their Pride Night on June 2nd against the Union.

June 29, 2018 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - A MNUFC pride flag is waved during the Minnesota United vs FC Dallas match at TCF Bank Stadium. 

(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)
June 29, 2018 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - A MNUFC pride flag is waved during the Minnesota United vs FC Dallas match at TCF Bank Stadium. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

A little bit less than a year ago, Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin became the first publicly gay man in the five major sports leagues when he came out on the day of the Loons’ Pride Night game.

As Pride Month begins today — and Minnesota prepares for their Pride Night game tomorrow against the Philadelphia Union — several Loons players will be supporting Athlete Ally’s Playing for Pride campaign. Started by North Carolina FC’s Austin da Luz, Playing for Pride brings players from all sorts of leagues together for a common cause.

Joining Martin as backers from Minnesota United are Ike Opara, Eric Miller, Miguel Ibarra and Michael Boxall.

“The reason I decided to join Playing for Pride was just to kind of trying to make the sporting community a little bit more of an open place,” Miller said of his participation last year. “I think for a long time it’s been a little homophobic, there’s some masculinity stuff going on there that I think guys maybe haven’t always in the past been the most friendly to the LGBTQ+ community. I think moving forward to bring some light on to that and show guys are willing to be open to that. Here it’s been great with all the fans creating super open spaces where everyone feels comfortable. I think that’s been awesome.”

Forward Madison captain and former Minnesota player Connor Tobin is participating, as is Minnesotan Sean Boyle, who plays for the United States Paralympic National Team. Justin Oliver and Will Kidd of the NPSL North’s Minneapolis City are joining in as well.

Some local writers will be backing the cause as well. The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter and MLS Female/BGN Written’s Bridget McDowell will be donating based on article output. Equal Time Soccer will donate for every Twitter follower they gain this month.

You can donate to Athlete Ally’s 2019 Playing for Pride campaign here.