In 2016 the IGLFA was going through a difficult transition in leadership and finding its relevance in the 21st Century, where gay rights and acceptance had been spreading throughout the world. IGLFA had been in existence for 24 years and had suffered several years of decreasing membership and tournament participation.
But after saving the 2016 IGLFA World Cup Championship Tournament in Portland, Ore., which had gained the support of Adidas and Nike plus having the tournament finals at Timber Stadium, IGLFA was back on the radar. But it was not enough.
It was not until the failure of the 2017 Outgames in Miami that the gay soccer clubs around the world finally understood why an organization like IGLFA must continue to exist and grow. When the Outgames were cancelled, they had no money or permits to hold the soccer tournament (Unity Cup).
While in the lobby of one of the host hotels, the IGLFA board looked at the organization’s finances, the logistical “must do’s” and time. It was Thursday night and all the Miami municipal offices would be closing for the weekend Friday evening. The board decided unanimously that the tournament must happen despite Outgames organizers pulling the rug from under us.
Sixteen teams had made the trip, and in 24 hours IGLFA put together a full tournament with minimal problems. In the end it emptied every single account, but we gave 300 soccer players a great tournament, including the 25th Anniversary Party for IGLFA itself.
The celebration took on a different meaning because not only did we make the tournament happen, it was a united effort. Team captains, players and residents all came together to make the Unity Cup and the 25th Anniversary Party huge successes. This now made IGLFA relevant again.
In the year after Miami and before the Paris Gay Games, IGLFA once again was faced with a difficult decision. Having emptied all accounts to pull off Miami, how were we going to help the teams going to Paris?
The answer was a complete surprise but perfectly timed: FIFA. IGLFA had been nominated for the first-ever FIFA Diversity Award to be presented at the SoccerX Convention. Unfortunately we did not get the award itself, but the nomination came with a grant and IGLFA was able to support the dozens of teams in Paris and once again host an incredible social event with almost a thousand attendees.
IGLFA has now reintroduced itself to the global gay soccer community. With new, younger board members from around the world joining the organization, the future looks good for IGLFA and gay soccer.
IGLFA looks forward to the new IGLFA Indoor World Championship at the Sin City games in Las Vegas in 2019 and have already started promoting Hong Kong Gay Games 2022.
Please visit www.IGLFA.org and find out more about IGLFA. And if you can, help support our mission by donating.