The German sports magazine 11FREUNDE “11 Friends” has teamed up with more than 800 soccer players to support gay soccer players.

In the latest issue of 11FREUNDE, the hashtag and slogan “You can count on us” was repeated by the magazine and some of the biggest men and women stars in Germany.

The 11FREUNDE editorial team and over 800 soccer players in Germany support homosexual players.⁠ # you can count on us pic.twitter.com/X9Dd3vZdkJ

A statement from the magazine indicated that there are no LGBTQ + players in the men’s professional leagues and promised support for future players who choose to come out.

The statement read:

“It is now 2021 – and there is still not a single openly gay professional footballer in the men’s game in Germany. Nobody should be persuaded to come out. It is a free and individual choice. But it is our goal that everyone who chooses this Step decides. ” can be sure of our full support. “

According to ESPN, entire Bundesliga squads and a large number of individual male and female players have committed to supporting LGBTQ + players in the future. Notable players and teams include:

  • The German players Alexandra Popp and Almuth Schult
  • USMNT striker Bobby Wood
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Schalke
  • Hoffenheim
  • Werder Bremen
  • Freiburg
  • Borussia Monchengladbach

We support the # you can count on @ 11Freunde_de campaign.

– Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) February 19, 2021

Not every player was on the mission. Former German international and Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm said in his upcoming book that he would be concerned about openly gay players.

“At the moment there seems to be little chance that a player will come out successfully in the Bundesliga and only get away half unscathed,” said Lahm in his book “Das Spiel: Die Welt des Fußballs”. “People with an inhuman attitude will also be among the tens of thousands of people who come together in a football stadium. Given the anonymity of the crowd, they would insult and defame players with a different sexual orientation. Would a player deal with it and if so, for how long ? “

Embed from Getty Images

Lahm’s concerns that an openly eliminated player will be discriminated against are not far-fetched at all. One of the few openly gay male soccer players, Collin Martin, was called a homophobic slur during a USL game last October.

Martin’s team, led by Landon Donovan, forfeited the game, and the bowler was given a six-game ban and an undisclosed fee.

Tough positions against homophobia like Donovan’s and the support of gay players, similar to the recent campaign by 11FREUNDE, could ultimately create a more acceptable environment for open male players.

Women’s soccer has already reached a soccer sphere where openly gay players can exist and thrive. The NWSL’s Orlando Pride literally has two married couples on the roster, with USWNT players Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris alongside the new pairing of Marta and Toni Pressley in 2021.

Football is a sport for everyone.