In the past, homosexual female football players had to hide their sexual orientation but today, they proudly come out to challenge bigotry in football and society as a whole.
Homophobia has been widespread in football, aka soccer, throughout the world. Being a gay professional player in football is still a taboo, and some people believe that it will never change. On the other hand, LGBT community has blamed football's "toxic" culture for the lack of openly gay players, calling for more education to be given to players to combat homophobia.
Previously, football players used to come out publicly as gay after being retired since it was widely believed that football world is still a hostile world to be a member of LGBTI community.
Nevertheless, the Women’s World Cup indicated that you can be both LGBTI and excellent in your sport as there were at least 41 openly gay or bisexual women in the World Cup in France.
The U.S. Women’s National team, which defeated the Netherlands at the Women’s World Cup final, earned four world titles with the help of five openly LGBTQ players, including Megan Rapinoe, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris, as well as the team’s coach, Jillian Ellis, who is also an out lesbian.
It is believed by many that female professional footballers are more openly gay or bisexual than male players.
Megan Anna Rapinoe born on July 5, 1985, is an American professional soccer player who plays as a winger and captains OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States national team. Rapinoe is the winner of the Ballon d'Or Féminin and she was named The Best FIFA Women's Player in 2019.
Rapinoe is one of the most well-known homosexual soccer players in the world. She captains the Seattle Reign and co-captions the national team alongside Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd.
In the 2012 London Summer Olympics, she became the first player, male or female, to score a goal olimpico (a goal directly from a corner kick) in the Olympic Games.
She is an advocate for numerous LGBT organizations and outspoken about her politics.
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Rapinoe came out publicly in 2012 and is currently dating WNBA player Sue Bird.
The star forward, who is popular for scoring points on the field and defending civil rights off the pitch, has become an icon among LGBTQ soccer players of all genders.
After Rapinoe scored two goals in a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over France, at the tail end of LGBTQ Pride Month, she exclaimed, “Go gays!” and added, “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team — it’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there!”
In 2016, Megan became the first white athlete and the first female athlete to join the nationwide protest of kneeling during the national anthem.
In an interview, she stated that she did this to oppose Donald Trump as the US President. She said that she did not like the statements he gave during the campaign.
In 2019, the US Football Association made it a rule to stand during the National Anthem. Rapinoe was protesting against discrimination in the contract payment of women and men players.
She stated that the men's football team had come third in the 1930s and since then, it had not achieved anything else. She further said that even after the women's team was winning world cups regularly, they had never gotten the due credit. She started fighting for equal pay thereafter.
While the national anthem of the United States was being played in a match, she stayed silent and did not even cross her hand to touch her heart according to the national anthem protocol.
“Right now Megan is America’s sweetheart,” said Sarah Kogod, an inclusion strategist for the You Can Play Project, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ people in sports.
“It is hard not to love her regardless of how you feel about the community in general. That is good for the community, because she has been able to transcend this definition of ‘lesbian soccer player’ and just be ‘badass soccer player.’”
Although the out LGBTQ athlete numbers gradually grows, many young players continue to struggle. Only 24 percent of LGBTQ youth say they play a school sport, compared to 68 percent of all youth nationally, according to a report from the Human Rights Campaign.
It is estimated that the 35 years old soccer player has a net worth of $3 million.
Ashlyn Harris is an American soccer player who plays as a goalkeeper for the United States women's national soccer team and NWSL club Orlando Pride.
Harris was born on October 19, 1985 in Satellite Beach, Florida, United States. She is the only daughter of Tammye and Mike Harris; she has an older brother named Chris. She is openly a lesbian and is married to her partner Ali Krieger.
Harris has won many team as well as individual awards. She was also awarded the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016.
Ashlyn started her professional career at Pali Blues football club in 2009. She stayed there for a year before being picked at 2010 WPS Draft of Women's Professional Soccer in January 2015 by Saint Louis Athletica. Later she was forced to move onto another club because of dissolution of Saint Louis Athletica. She was taken to Washington Freedom in 2010.
Harris switched many football clubs staying less than a year to a maximum of three years in only two clubs. Her next club was Western New York Flash during 2011/12 season and she moved onto FCR 2001 Duisburg in 2012/13 season. Later, she was signed by Washington Spirit for a three-year contract (2013-2015).
From 2013, she has also been representing the USA team overseas and in-home ground in senior level. She had played 15 games representing her nation. Unfortunately, after a year in the new club, she was transfered to Tyreso FF on a loan. She played for the Tyreso FF till 2016 when she signed a new deal with Orlando Pride.
When the USA Women's Football Team brought home trophy of 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, they were invited and honored into the White House by then-President Barack Obama.
She is the brand ambassador of BMW and also has an endorsement deal with football sportswear company Umbro.
Ashlyn who has an annual salary of $250,000 has an estimated net worth of around $1 million. She is among the best female goalkeepers in the US and her exceptional skills has earned her quite a good payroll.
Her salary stands at $250,000, amassing a total net worth of over $1 million, which she has garnered from her career and endorsement deals.
Alexandra Blaire Krieger, born on July 28, 1984, is an American soccer player who plays for the Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States women's national football team.
Ali Krieger was born in Alexandria, Virginia and grew up in Dumfries, Virginia. Raised in a family where both parents, Debbie and Ken, were physical education instructors and coaches in the school system, Ali and her brother Kyle naturally gravitated towards many sports. But Ali grew to love playing soccer the most.
As a midfielder and defender, she joined the U.S. women's soccer team in 2008 and won gold with the team at the 2015 World Cup. She helped lead FFC Frankfurt to a UEFA Women's Champions League Championship in 2008.
The right back had 98 caps for the U.S. in 2017 and was a leader who excelled for her club team, the Orlando Pride. But she didn’t receive a call-up to the National Team for the next two years.
Having spent two years refusing to give up, staying ready and training hard just in case, Krieger came in and played the full 90 against Belgium. She was then named to the 2019 World Cup roster, and against New Zealand on May 16, she earned her 100th cap.
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Ali Krieger confirmed that she is a lesbian in 2014 and is currently married to her longtime-partner Ashlyn Harris who is also an American soccer player.
Ali Krieger has an estimated net worth of around $3 million as of 2019. Her major source of earning is from her professional soccer career. Besides, she also has endorsement deals with various brands.
Krieger is a brand ambassador of Nike since 2007. She also endorsed Unequal and was signed to ZICO and Smuckers for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris were married Saturday at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami in 2019. Harris and Krieger helped the U.S. women’s national soccer team win the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
Adrianna Nichole Franch, born on November 12, 1990, is an American soccer goalkeeper who currently plays for Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States women's national soccer team.
Franch started her career by playing for her college at Oklahoma University. She played there for three seasons before having an injury. Due to this injury, the American footballer had to stay off the pitch for a long time.
In 2013, she became the first goalkeeper selected by any team signed with Western New York Flash. During the first match, she made six saves. In the first season, she represented her team for 22 matches. Later, she moved to Avaldsnes and IL and managed to play 12 matches.
In 2015, the American footballer shifted to the National Women’s Soccer League club named Portland Thorns FC. Since then, Adrianna has played 29 matches winning NWSL Goalkeeper of the year award. She has also played in U20 and U23 side. She earned her first international cap while playing against Norway.
Franch is an openly homosexual footballer. She is in a relationship with Emily Boscacci. The couple dated for several years to know each other. In addition, the couple got engaged in 2018. The couple doesn’t share anything about their marriage to the public. Reportedly, they share two children together.
Some of her awards are NWSL goalkeeper of the year 2017 and 2018, NSWL Best XI-2017 and 2018, NSWL Second XI- 2013.
Franch has an estimated net worth of $1 million. The player made all her income from football. Her salary ranges from $16,538-$46,200. She also signed a contract with NWSL worth $421,500.
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Samantha May "Sam" Kerr, born 10 September 1993, is an Australian soccer player who plays for Chelsea in the English FA Women's Super League. Kerr is the captain of the Australia women's national soccer team known as the Matildas.
In 2019, Kerr was recognized as the all-time leading scorer in both the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States and the Australian W-League.
She is the only ever Australian to score a hat trick at a World Cup when she scored four times against Jamaica in the group stages of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Kerr is in relationship with her Perth Glory and Chicago Red Stars teammate Nikki Stanton.
Soccer superstar opened up about her relationship with long-term girlfriend Nikki Stanton.
Kerr recently shot a short film for her major sponsor Nike where she spoke glowingly about her partner.
She told reporters in Paris on Saturday that it was the first time she publicly spoke about Stanton.
Stanton, who is an American soccer player, met Kerr while they were playing for New Jersey league team Sky Blue FC in 2014.
Kerr said that they came ever closer after she suffered a career-threatening knee injury in the same year.
'She helped me a lot through my injury that may be why I feel so deeply connected to her because that was probably the worst time in my career,' Kerr said.
'At the same I had one of the most exciting things building up in my life.'
Sam Kerr signed a contract with Chelsea for 2.5 years. Her salary is $410,000 per season.
Believed to be worth around $2 million, the staggering amount, in conjunction with her $1 million endorsement with Nike signed earlier this year, will see Kerr become one of the highest paid female footballers in the world.
Pernille Mosegaard Harder, born 15 November 1992, is a Danish professional footballer who plays as a Midfielder or striker for VfL Wolfsburg. She was named Europe's best female footballer in 2018. She also plays for Danish national team.
The striker signed with Wolfsburg of the Bundesliga after spending four years in Sweden with Linköpings. She has also represented the Danish national team, earning her first senior international cap in 2009.
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She started a relationship with Magdalena Eriksson, her former teammate on Linköpings.
Pernille, the Denmark captain and five-time Danish player of the year, has had a lengthy relationship with Magdalena, a Swedish national team player. The two played for Linköpings FC together but now Pernille plays for Wolfsburg and Magdalena for Chelsea.
They went viral during the 2019 Women's World Cup when Magda, after having beaten Canada in the Round of 16 in Paris, kissed Pernille.
Both Eriksson and Harder are two of roughly 100 professional sports athletes donating 1% of their annual salaries to Play Proud, an initiative that “aims to equip coaches and mentors with the skills and knowledge to establish safe spaces and guided LGBTQ+ adolescents to participate in sports at the youth-level with confidence.”
The couple is encouraging other pro sports athletes to donate 1% of their salaries as well.
Play Proud is an initiative of Common Goal organization to help fund global initiatives to meet the United Nations’ Global Goals for sustainable world development.
Eriksson said, “I think that’s when I felt the demand for role models in that way, because of how big it was and how many people wrote to me on Instagram saying they looked up to us and how much we’d helped them. That’s when I understood that we’re really powerful together. Before, we hadn’t really seen ourselves as that.”
Their newfound fame made them realize they could serve as role models to help make their sport more inclusive to LGBTQ players.
Eriksson said, “If football clubs talked about [accepting LGBTQ players] more, that it’s normal, it would be easier for everyone to just be themselves.”
Harder added, “That’s where Play Proud is such a good initiative because they educate the coaches and the environments in the team to be more accepting and to talk more about it. Everyone feels like they can be themselves. They don’t stop playing because of their sexuality or their background or [feeling] that football isn’t an open environment for everyone.”
While football is arguably the most popular and internationally played sport, homophobia still undoubtedly leaves some players feeling left out of the game.
Harder and Eriksson’s contribution could help reduce athletic anti-LGBTQ stigma, at least in one field. Harder’s estimated net worth is $100K-$1M.
Magdalena Lilly Eriksson was born in Stockholm, Sweden on September 8th, 1993. She plays as a defender for Chelsea Women in the English Women's Super League as well as for the Swedish national team. She used to play for Hammarby IF, Djurgårdens IF, and Linköpings FC in the Swedish Damallsvenskan.
Eriksson started playing football during her high school days. As a youth, she played for the teams like Enskede IK and Hammarby IF DFF.
Magdalena Eriksson is a lesbian and is currently in a love relationship with her girlfriend Pernille Harder. Her partner Pernille is also a Danish footballer.
Both Magdalena and Pernille played together for Linkopings FC that is when they met each other for the first time. Magdalena and her girlfriend seem to be pretty much happy with each other and are currently enjoying their love life despite being a competitor in their professional life.
The couple is planning to get married but the exact information regarding their marriage is still kept a secret from the media. They both played for their country in this 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Eriksson and her girlfriend Pernille doesn't seem to mind people discussing their personal life and about their sexuality.
The exact figure of Magdalena Eriksson's net worth is hard to find since she hasn't shared facts regarding her career earnings and net worth but there are estimations regarding her net worth, which has been estimated to be around $500,000 as of 2019.
Eriksson might receive a salary of around $50,000 annually from her club and after the addition of bonus and other incentives; her annual salary might reach around $100,000. Furthermore, she has signed an endorsement deal with the PUMA brand from where she receives a good amount.
Eudy Simelane (11 March 1977 – 28 April 2008) was a South African footballer who played for the South Africa women's national football team. Moreover, she was an LGBT-rights activist. Sadly, she was raped and murdered in her hometown of KwaThema, Springs, Gauteng.
Simelane played as a midfielder for Springs Home Sweepers F.C. and the South Africa women's national football team. She also coached four teams and was studying to be a referee.
Simelane's partially clothed body was found in a creek in KwaThema. She had been abducted, gang raped, beaten, and stabbed 25 times.
She had been one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in KwaThema. A report by the international NGO ActionAid, backed by the South African Human Rights Commission, suggested that her murder was a hate crime committed against her because of her sexual orientation.
“There have been fewer attacks against lesbians after Eudy’s death,” says Kunu Semake from the Gay and Lesbian Equality Project. “The attention has helped us, at least here in KwaThema.”
However, in other parts of South Africa the violence still appears to be increasing.
In the past, some players chose not to wear rainbow laces because they believed it could affect their performance on the field. Even some players had superstitions before matches and believed that the rainbow laces could break the trend.
However, Premier League clubs, such as West Ham United, Watford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur came together between 3-9 December to celebrate Stonewall's 2019/20 Rainbow Laces campaign and show support for all LGBT people in football and beyond.
The campaign aims to raise awareness and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender players and fans.
Clubs showcase the wide-ranging work they do to support and celebrate their LGBT communities, showing there is no place for discrimination and demonstrating the power football has to bring people together.
"I'm extremely proud of the work we have been doing in partnership with Stonewall," Premier League Interim Chief Executive Richard Masters said.
"Supporting their Rainbow Laces campaign is a demonstration of our commitment to LGBT inclusion in football.
"We and our clubs are working to promote inclusion both on and off the pitch, from club staff, to participants across our community programs, to fans in our grounds. This is everyone's game."
As part of its three-year partnership with Stonewall, the Premier League is promoting positive attitudes towards LGBT people as it strives to improve equality and diversity throughout the game and within its organization.