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Major League Soccer partners with You Can Play

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The pro sports league is the first to announce a partnership with the group

Various Major League Soccer players have voiced support for gay athletes and gay rights; And in the last couple of years, MLS teams have hosted "gay nights" across the country. Now the pro league is officially partnering with the You Can Play project to show their support for members of the LGBT community. According to the Sports Business Journal:

“We have enjoyed speaking with Patrick [Burke] and learning about You Can Play,” said JoAnn Neale, executive vice president for Major League Soccer. “MLS W.O.R.K.S. [the league’s charitable arm] is committed to working alongside groups that support LGBT causes and equality. We look forward to working with You Can Play in a variety of capacities.”

While we've seen trickles of NOH8 and It Gets Better videos from MLS players and teams, this new partnership opens the possibility to see a flood of support for gay athletes in Major League Soccer.

This is the first league-endorsed partnership of its kind for the You Can Play project. The National Hockey League has been prominent in the You Can Play project, but a formal relationship has not been announced. Other sports leagues have an off-and-on history of working with gay not-for-profit groups: Major League Baseball and the NBA have worked with GLAAD and GLSEN, while various individual baseball teams have created It Gets Better videos.

We've said the involvement of the leagues and commissioners is huge in opening their doors to openly gay athletes; The institutional support a partnership like this provides is invaluable to changing the culture of sport. This is another very positive step!

PHOTO: Chivas USA midfielder Michael Lahoud (11) scores a goal during the second half against the FC Dallas at the Home Depot Center. FC Dallas won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE