First openly gay pro-soccer player comes to Philly

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PLAY BALL! Longtime City of Brotherly Love Softball League players Mike Valerio (from left), Jeff Chase and Brandi Fitzgerald threw out the first pitches to kick off the league’s season April 17. Valerio and Chase were inducted last year into North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance’s Hall of Fame, and Fitzgerald was named to Amateur Sports Alliance of North America’s Hall of Fame. The opening ceremonies and games were followed by the league’s annual block party in the Gayborhood. Photo: Scott A. Drake

Soccer will probably never overtake baseball as America’s favorite pastime, but it is evident that the past decade has seen a massive increase in the number of people interested in the game. World Cup followers aside, there are plenty of people passionate about futbol in Philadelphia. There are those who brought their love of the game with them and many others are finding the action more exciting than football — with its six seconds of action and two minutes of milling about ass-patting.         

Well, here’s your opportunity to go to a live game with your gay mates (or lesbian, trans, bi, queer, questioning, intersex or ally mates): The Philadelphia Falcons Soccer Club (falcons-soccer,org) is going to the Philadelphia Union LGBT Night May 11 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester.

Even bigger than that, the Union is playing L.A. Galaxy that night and out soccer player Robbie Rogers will be here on our own home turf! Not only can you watch a professional game with your LGBTQ friends, you can cheer on one of our own, if you so choose to root for the visiting team. It’s nice going into Boxers and finding a soccer game on the televisions but wouldn’t it be great to be part of the cheering crowds?

Tickets are a group-discounted $32 each with a portion of the proceeds going to the Falcons. Contact Crossley Simmons ([email protected]) before May 1 to RSVP or just go to falcons-soccer.org/union-lgbt-night/ for tickets at the special group rate.

The Falcons’ pick-up play has moved back outdoors as of a week ago, and you can watch them or join in Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:15 p.m. until dark and Saturdays 10 a.m.-noon. Games are at the Fairmount Park Athletic Field. Rates to become a member can be found at falcon-soccer.org.

And finally, coming up over Memorial Day Weekend, the Falcons host the annual Liberty Bell Classic, complete with shirts, adorable visiting players from New York, D.C. and other gay places and a cookout to cap it all off.

Take me Out!

The Philadelphia Phillies have finally realized after 13 years that the LGBTQ community in the greater Philadelphia region is a fun, harmless bunch and have made LGBT Night at Citizens Bank Park part of its official promotions.

The official notice on the team’s calendar reads: “The Phillies invite you to celebrate Philadelphia’s rich LGBT culture at our inaugural Pride Night Celebration at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, August 29 at 7:05 p.m., when the Phillies host the Washington Nationals. All members of the LGBT community, as well as family, friends and organizations, are invited to come out and show their pride at this event.”

The first 500 fans to purchase tickets for the evening will receive a coupon for a limited-edition Phillies Pride-themed giveaway. There is a $4 Pride discount on tickets, regularly priced up through $47. To order tickets and get the discount and coupon, go to the Phillies website (philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com), select the Pride Night promo and enter the password: PRIDE.

Short Stops

• Coming up so suddenly that you might have missed it, the next You Can Play partnership is happening with the Philadelphia Soul April 23 at Wells Fargo Center. There’s a pre-game, on-field tailgate party from noon-4 p.m. and some demonstrations prior to the tailgate, courtesy of You Can Play, OPAL and Lez Runs. More info at brownpapertickets.com/event/2512181.

• The final home game for the Philadelphia Gryphons Rugby Football Club is against the Temple Owls April 23 at George Pepper Middle School, 2901 S. 84th St. Keep up with the team through the season and on their road to Nashville for the Bingham Cup in May on Facebook. Search Philadelphia Gryphons RFC.

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