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Hey Coach Jason Kreis! New York Wants A Gay Soccer Player!

Jason_kreisBY DAVID MIXNER

By 2015, New York City will have a new major league soccer team owned by the famous Manchester City. This will be the second in the area with the New Jersey Bulls playing in Harrison, New Jersey. In an announcement this month, the New York City FC presented Jason Kreis (right) as the new coach for the franchise. Now the process of picking the players and ironing out the logistics of where the team will play in NYC.

Kreis has an incredible opportunity to break the glass ceiling here in New York City. The Big Apple has never had an openly gay player in any of its major male sports franchises. While the Los Angeles Galaxy has snapped up out athlete Robbie Rogers and former World Cup German player Thomas Hitzlsperger (below) recently came out of the closet, the time has come for Major League Soccer to embrace the momentum and show the rest of the leagues the way.

T_hitzlspergerOne can't help but wonder what would happen to Hitzlsperger if he was still playing. After the Russians host the Olympics, they will be hosting the World Cup in 2018 and that will be followed by one in Qatar.

In a Guardian/Observer editorial after the German player's coming out, the paper stated:

Now, everyone agrees that a footballer's sexuality should not be a big deal in 2014, but FIFA's response still felt a little casual. Enthusiastically backing Hitzlsperger seemed like an open goal for the organisation, particularly with its recent patchy record on gay rights. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia, which has introduced laws to ban gay "propaganda"; four years later, the tournament moves to Qatar, where homosexuality is still punished with a prison sentence.

There is genuine speculation that players and spectators will be vetted by a Kuwaiti-engineered "gay test" in 2022. When Sepp Blatter, the Clouseau-esque president of Fifa, was asked in 2010 about the issue, he smiled and suggested that homosexual football fans would just have to "refrain from sexual activity" in Qatar. Pushed further last June, he deflected: "What you are speaking about… this is going into ethics and morals." But venturing into these thorny areas is exactly what Fifa should be doing. After years of punishing racism with ineffectual fines, Blatter recently suggested he would be getting tough: deducting points from clubs, eliminating them from competitions. Why should homophobia be any different?

KreisThe Wall Street Journal reports on the new franchise in New York City:

"As he goes about building his first NYCFC side, Kreis will have the enviable resources of Manchester City at his disposal, including a 36-strong scouting team—14 of whom are, significantly, in South America—and the option to loan players from the Manchester City development system. But he will still need all of his powers of good housekeeping as he negotiates the MLS salary cap and a rule book that forces a competitive parity his new bosses are unfamiliar with."

The time has come for New York City to get ahead of the game! With a 36 member scouting team, surely New York City FC should be able to find one great gay soccer player. Really, it can't be that difficult. Coach Kreis has not only the opportunity to make history in New York City but to build a powerful new fan base for his club.

For heaven's sake, don't make New Yorkers go to the stadium and cheer Los Angeles Galaxy because we have no openly gay soccer player in New York. Can you imagine, Sir, how hard that will be for us?

Do the right thing from day one of this club and find a top notch openly gay player that will lead our team to victory, fill the stands with new fans and make all New Yorkers proud to wear that player's jersey.

Watch the press conference announcing Kreis as coach, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. I admire the work that David Mixner has done for our community, but what a ridiculous article. The only thing that Jason Kreis needs to worry about is assembling the best players available for his club, regardless of race or sexual orientation.

    Posted by: scooternva | Jan 20, 2014 12:17:49 PM


  2. The issue isn't choosing to sign gay footballers, it's that the gay footballers that are playing professionally aren't out, and that isn't a new clubs fault.

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 20, 2014 12:18:13 PM


  3. Precisely, Mark. At *most*, I think it would be appropriate to remind Coach Kreis that pro-equality football fans will be watching the choices he makes, and that a gay footballer should not be _dis_qualified because of his sexual orientation. But Mixner goes way beyond that, all but calling for "gay affirmative action" in the picking and choosing of players. Nonsense.

    Posted by: scooternva | Jan 20, 2014 12:23:10 PM


  4. Quotas aren't what people need on a sports team. He should worry about getting the best players, period.

    Posted by: Hrm | Jan 20, 2014 1:01:41 PM


  5. No, David. New York wants a winning soccer team and the sexual orientation of the players is irrelevant. The only thing that speaks--and speaks loudly in sports--is winning. If the Galaxy can get a player or players that help them compete and win and will help make soccer our national sport (and consign the increasingly dangerous NFL to the trash heap of sports history), and those players might happen to be gay, then all the better. I just want a winning team. Period.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jan 20, 2014 1:02:16 PM


  6. Good grief. This was clearly written by someone who doesn't know the first thing about football.

    First of all, it's the New York Red Bulls. Their stadium just happens to be located in New Jersey. There will be 2 New York based teams in MLS (similar to how there are 2 Manchester teams, Manchester United and Manchester City).

    Manchester City is not that famous. They've only come into their own in the last 5 years because of deep investments by their new Arab owners. You're thinking of Manchester United.

    It's much more critical that a new franchise team recruit a marquee player like Spanish legend Xavi to attract a strong fanbase of actual soccer fans. The number of gay soccer fans is quite small, which I can sadly attest to.

    Thomas Hitzlsperger retired because he suffered from a string of injuries, not because he came out. There's no way he's getting recruited by a new team (or anyone for that matter) without playing time and medical clearance by team trainers.

    Orlando is also joining MLS in 2015. Why no mention of them? Why can't they recruit a gay soccer player? It seems rather lazy to insist that New York is the only option for a gay soccer player.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 20, 2014 1:14:22 PM


  7. What this team should do is set team policy to ensure anyone could feel comfortable coming out, and make sure they are public about that policy.

    All other teams should do the same thing as well.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 20, 2014 6:29:30 PM


  8. The only think Jason Kreis needs to do is pose shirtless.

    Posted by: Knock | Jan 20, 2014 10:46:43 PM


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