Toronto FC Allies with You Can Play

You Can Play Project

Toronto FC has become the first Canadian MLS club to officially ally themselves with the You Can Play Project which is intended to promote respect and equality for LGBT athletes.

This is a video and a cause that should hopefully need very little introduction from my part. Toronto FC has released a video today officially putting the club's support behind the You Can Play initiative. If you are not already familiar with You Can Play take a few minutes and check out their website to learn what they are all about. Toronto FC are the second MLS club to officially throw their support behind the cause joining only DC United so far. TFC also joins another MLSE property, the Toronto Marlies, on the ally list that is continually growing.

You Can Play was founded by Patrick Burke, son of Brian Burke, along with Brian Kitts in March of this year. Much of their early campaign was focused around hockey but now it seems to be spreading and it is good to see soccer getting involved. Their mission statement is as follows:

You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.

You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.

You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.

The video features Torsten Frings, Eric Hassli, Richard Eckersley, Darren O'Dea, Milos Kocic, Stefan Frei, Luis Silva, Paul Mariner, and Thomas Rongen all conveying a simple message. They present the message that "You Can Play" in English, French, Swiss-German, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Serbian but not matter what language they say it in the point is simple.

The video is well worth taking the time to watch and the cause is even more worth checking out.

UPDATE - 3:17am ET, 12/4/2012: Cyd Ziegler, SBNation's LGBT sports correspondent and co-founder of Outsports, has weighed in.

"Toronto FC is the latest professional soccer club to advance to the 21st Century. It's simply not okay anymore to discriminate against gay people, and they've recognized that with their embracing of the You Can Play project.

Whether you agree with gay marriage or LGBT equality in other areas, sportsmen across North American can agree that if you can play a sport, you should be able to play a sport. And it's awesome that [TFC] has publicly embraced that inclusive mantra."

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