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Playing for Pride, Prideraiser Brings Together Players, Supporters during Pride Month

By Staff, 06/14/21, 11:45AM EDT


Online fundraisers have been June staple since launch in 2017 by former North Carolina FC player Austin da Luz

OKC Energy FC's Main Street Greens are among the numerous Championship and League One supporters groups raising money for LGBTQ+ causes this month through Prideraiser. | Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC

It was a simple idea, really, a little bit like your fantasy football team.

Only instead of points, for every positive action the players you’d backed made in a game, you made donations to the LGBTQ+ charity or organization of their choosing.

Launched in 2017 by former North Carolina FC player Austin da Luz – who now serves as a color commentator on the club’s games in USL League One – Playing for Pride has grown into a popular annual event that has seen players from not only the USL Championship and League One but from other leagues and even now other sports raise money throughout Pride Month from their on-field performance.

As of June 4, there were 16 current Championship players that were part of this year’s event, with the likes of San Diego Loyal SC’s Collin Martin, Orange County SC’s Brent Richards, the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Zach Steinberger and Birmingham Legion FC’s Mikey Lopez among those to sign up to raise money for Athlete Ally.

This year the group has set a goal of raising $25,000 through donations and matching player performances on the field, and Playing For Pride 2021 has already surpassed the $10,000 mark just 10 days into the month. That number is significant, because this year Athlete Ally pledged 50 percent of proceeds to the Black Women’s Player Collective up to a $5,000 donation, a target that has already been reached.

The idea of using on-field performance as a means to fundraise has now spread beyond Pride Month as well. This season, Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Forrest Lasso – a two-time Championship Defender of the Year in his career – has made a season-long pledge that is raising money for charities both in the Tampa Bay area and at past stops in his career on a weekly basis.

The spirit of Playing for Pride can also be found in supporters’ groups in the Championship and USL League One, where 18 different groups are raising money based on the goals their sides score during June. Groups like the Tower Bridge Battalion at Sacramento Republic FC will currently collectively donate $262 per goal, while Union 602 and Los Bandidos at Phoenix Rising FC are at $279 per goal and The Curse at New Mexico United are at $422 per goal.

Other groups such as the Magic City Brigade have expanded their scope, donating per goals, assists and shutouts, while groups such as The Flock (Forward Madison FC / $288 per goal), Omaha Parliament (Union Omaha / $348 per goal) and the Reedy River Riot (Greenville Triumph SC / $103 per goal) are also putting in work at the League One level.

If you’d like to back a player or join a supporters group’s fundraiser for this month, check out the lists below to find out where you can pledge or donate. 



Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu

Sacramento Republic FC

Brandon Fricke

Greenville Triumph SC

Brent Richards

Orange County SC

Cameron Iwasa

Sacramento Republic FC

Carl Haworth

Indy Eleven

Collin Martin

San Diego Loyal SC

Duke Lacroix

Sacramento Republic FC

Jalen Robinson

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Jon Bakero

Phoenix Rising FC

Kyle Adams

Real Monarchs SLC

Matt Bahner

El Paso Locomotive FC

Max Lachowecki

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Mikey Lopez

Birmingham Legion FC

Niall McCabe

Louisville City FC

Peter Pearson

North Carolina FC

Sam Gleadle

San Antonio FC

Zach Steinberger

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Zach Zandi

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

Supporters Groups