U.S. soccer team’s training center in Qatar shows support for LGBTQ community

The U.S. men’s soccer team is showing its true rainbow colors in support of the LGBTQ community at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

More than 1.2 million soccer fans are expected to travel to the small Arab nation over the next few weeks to root for their favorite teams competing for soccer glory in the world’s largest sports tournament, the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Fans who identify as LGBTQ, however, have raised concerns, as consensual same-sex activities are illegal in the conservative host nation.

On Monday, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) unveiled a rainbow-colored logo that it will display at its training facilities as a way to show Qatar — and the rest of the world — that the team “believes in inclusivity,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said at a news conference, according to Sports Illustrated.

“We’ve tried to continue to have discussions as we lead into the games,” he said. “I think we’ve leaned on the message of ‘Be the Change,’” he added, referring to a social awareness initiative created in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“That’s something that we’ve been really proud of and obviously continue to work towards being impactful with ourselves, with our presence, with our platform, and we’ll continue to do so here in Qatar,” he said.

The rainbow-colored design, which the team doesn’t plan on wearing on uniforms during the matches, features seven colored lines to represent inclusion and acceptance. The team has used it in the past.

Photos shared on Twitter show the media room at the Al Gharafa stadium, where the team has been training, with the rainbow-colored crest and the phrase “One Nation” written on the wall.

“When we are on the world stage and when we are in a venue like Qatar, it is important to bring awareness to these issues and that is what ‘Be the Change’ is about,” coach Gregg Berhalter told reporters on Monday. “We recognize that Qatar has made strides and there has been a ton of progress, but there’s some work still to do.”

The FIFA World Cup kicks off on Sunday, with the host nation playing Ecuador at 11 a.m. ET. Team U.S.A. begins its campaign on Monday, playing against Wales at 2 p.m. ET.