San Diego Loyal SC has announced the debut of the “Loud & Proud” fan section as part of a new partnership with San Diego Pride, just in time for Pride Month.
For all of SD Loyal’s home matches at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium, section 110 will be dedicated to those within the LGBTQ community, as well, team officials said, “as those who support and share the vision of inclusion in professional sports.”
SD Loyal’s new game day initiative is said to be the first-ever in sports history.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales in the section, permanently decorated with Pride-related elements, will be donated to San Diego Pride to help in their mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for the LGBTQ community.
San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Z. López said there is work to be done to combat discrimination in athletics, from playgrounds to P.E. classes to youth sports programs.
“That fight must be led by LGBTQ athletes which necessitates having supportive parents, coaches, teachers, team owners, managers and fans in the stadium,” he said.
SD Loyal’s midfielder Collin Martin came out in 2018. At the time he was reported to be the only active male professional soccer player to be openly gay.
Martin and Coach Landon Donovan made international headlines last fall when they led the team walking off the pitch in protest over a homophobic slur.
“That is why I’m humbled by Collin Martin’s bravery as an out athlete and honored to partner with San Diego Loyal (which) is leading by example,” Lopez said.
Additionally, SD Loyal is in the process of working with a LGBTQ artist to create a merchandise line including a scarf, socks and shirt with 20% of sales set aside for San Diego Pride.
The Loyal also has plans for two special events at home:
- June 19: the club will welcome up to 100 LGBTQ athletes from different sports leagues on the pitch prior to kick off before they make their way to the “Loud & Proud” section.
- July 24: the club plans a Pride Night celebration.
The Loyal next plays on Saturday in Phoenix, but returns home June 12 to face LA Galaxy II.
Tickets in the “Loud & Proud” section, with 20% of proceeds going to the Pride group, may be purchased online.