The US men’s and women’s national football teams will wear rainbow-themed uniforms to support LGBT Pride month.
The initiative is part of a collaboration between US Soccer and You Can Play, an organisation whose aim is to ensure equality for all athletes, coaches and fans and to use sport to fight homophobia and transphobia.
The men’s team will wear the uniform while playing Venezuela on June 3, while the women’s side will put it on against Sweden on June 8 and Norway on June 11.
After these matches, the jerseys will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) 26 maggio 2017
There will be two different versions of the rainbow jersey – one white, and one red – which will both be available to buy on US Soccer’s online store.
Fans flocked to support the new initiative, expressing their approval both on Twitter and the US Soccer website.
“Excellent work, proud of US Soccer for standing for inclusivity and openness for all!” one supporter tweeted.
— Amy L. (@1sinatrafan) 27 maggio 2017
— ACB Conway (@trancepants121) 26 maggio 2017
However, predictably, not every fan was happy about the news.
On Twitter, many US soccer fans protested the decision of wearing rainbow colours.
One user wrote: “What about people who want to celebrate heterosexuality?
“Do they get a jersey or do they keep getting shit in the PC world we live in?”
Another one wrote: “The red white and blue already represents all Americans. The rainbow flag does not.”
— Dan Irwin (@irwinsports) 26 maggio 2017
— K.R.M. (@KennethRMann) 26 maggio 2017
— Summergirl (@Kaseykay48) 30 maggio 2017
Many others accused US Soccer of trying to push a political agenda in order to boost its sales.
And some fans pledged to boycott watching the friendlies, only to become the subject of an excellent burn.
“I am sure US Soccer will be devastated to hear that a bigot won’t be watching some friendlies,” one user quipped.
Liam Davis, the first out footballer playing at Wembley, said earlier this month that there are lots of gay footballers who have not come out, and hoped his example would give them the courage to leave the closet.
Also this month, Football Association boss Greg Clarke said men’s football is two decades behind women’s game when it comes to LGBT inclusion.