US use rainbow logo at Qatar World Cup in support of LGBTQ community | USA

The US men’s team are showing their support for the LGBTQ community by way of a rainbow-themed logo at their training facility in Qatar as they prepare for this month’s World Cup.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar, and the host nation has been the subject of criticism for its LGBTQ policies as the World Cup approaches.

The design features seven rainbow-colored vertical stripes below “USA” in dark blue letters and is part of the “Be The Change” initiative the team adopted in 2020 with the goal of inspiring action on social justice issues.

“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,” US coach Gregg Berhalter told a news conference on Monday. “It is not just Stateside that we want to bring attention to social issues, it is also abroad. We recognise that Qatar has made strides and there has been a ton of progress but there’s some work still to do.”

Organisers of the World Cup, which is the first to be held in a Middle Eastern nation, say that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome, while also warning against public displays of affection.

Some players have raised concerns over the rights of fans travelling to this year’s World Cup, especially LGBTQ individuals and women, whom rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.

“We are a group who believes in inclusivity and we will continue to project that message going forward,” said US goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We have chatted and continue to have discussions as we lead into the games. We have leaned on the message of ‘Be the Change’. That is something that we have been proud of and continue to work towards, be impactful with ourselves, our presence and our platform, and we will continue to be so here in Qatar.”

The rainbow badge, which will not be worn by the team during World Cup games, has been routinely displayed by US Soccer as a way to promote a spirit of inclusivity.

“Our rainbow badge has an important and consistent role in the identity of US Soccer,” US Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told Reuters. “As part of our approach for any match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as to promote a spirit of inclusiveness and welcoming to all fans across the globe.

“As a result, locations that we will manage and operate at the Fifa World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow US Soccer branding.”

Meanwhile, Fulham defender Tim Ream and Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner are among the US players to receive well-wishes from fictional coach Ted Lasso.

Giant yellow banners began to appear in the home towns of the US players this week, each with a personalised message from Jason Sudeikis’ TV character.

Ted Lasso follows its eponymous protagonist, a former gridiron coach, as he takes over as coach of English football club AFC Richmond, despite having no experience in the game.

Ream’s message, placed on a billboard in St Louis, Missouri, reads: “Tim, word at the fair is the lights aren’t shining any place but St Louis, so if you could mail me one of y’alls lightbulbs, I’d love to check that out.

“You know what other shiny thing I can’t wait to see? You playin’ in the big games. There should be a warning before the tournaments to load up on SPF and sunglasses to protect everyone from the Tim Ream beam, I know I’ll be doubling up on my visors.

“Your tootsie wootsie, Ted Lasso.”

Lasso’s message to Arsenal goalkeeper Turner was hung up outside his alma mater, Saint Joseph Regional High School in New Jersey.

Part of it read: “Sometimes the goal you’re training for turns into the train you’re goaling for, you know? Choo-choo! Next stop: the games of all games! We’re takin’ that track all the way to victory.”

The US begin their campaign against Wales on November 21.

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