The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

Chatham University women’s soccer team competes in #PlayWithPride game, promotes inclusion

The+womens+soccer+team+poses+after+their+%23PlayWithPride+game+on+Oct.+11+against+Franciscan+university+at+Graham+field
The women’s soccer team poses after their #PlayWithPride game on Oct. 11 against Franciscan university at Graham field

Chatham University’s women’s soccer team competed against Franciscan University on Wednesday, Oct. 11, for its annual #PlayWithPride game.

The women’s soccer program has participated in Play With Pride week since 2018. However for this season, the team was inspired to continue its participation in the cause after Geneva College’s women’s soccer head coach was unexpectedly fired after her online comments about LGBTQ+ inclusivity in churches in June 2023.

The Cougars took it upon themselves to proactively get involved by making it their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative to share information about and collect donations for the Trevor Project, which “helps give LGBTQ young people the affirmation and love they deserve” through counseling, according to its website. “Generally, athlete spaces tend to be hostile towards LGBTQ+ folks, so having a game specifically oriented towards that helps create a safer space for those athletes,” Sam Beall-Dennell ‘25 said.

Originally developed in 2017, Play with Pride wanted to create a safe space, welcoming all players, coaches, officials and fans of all sexual orientations and gender identities to support diversity and inclusion in the game.

“My team felt like we were playing for something bigger than just a game,” Halle Marsalis ‘26 said.

Carson the Cougar Mascot holds up a #PlayWithPride Fundraiser poster at Graham Field at the women’s soccer game on Oct. 11 against Franciscan University.

According to the Trevor Project, 94% of LGBTQ+ youth say recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and 75% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime.

With the help of head coach Betsy Warren and athletes Lizzy Martz ‘26, Ava Krepp ‘25 and Abby Diloreto ‘25, the athletes took it upon themselves to educate their peers, develop the team’s social media posts and be proactive in supporting the LGBTQ+ community in sports.

“Our team came together with the drive to make the issues around LGBTQ+ discrimination more prominent,” Martz said.

The team elected to warm up in Play With Pride T-shirts as its pregame warm-ups for the entire season to share the message of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the game.

“One of the pillars and values of our women’s soccer program is fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and safe to be their authentic selves,” Warren said. “The Play With Pride event is an extension of us honoring those values within our team and sharing the message to the greater campus community.”

While members from across the Chatham community showed up to show their support for the team and their message, attendance was not as strong as some on the team would have wanted.

“We definitely would have wanted more students and student-athletes there to support,” Martz said. 

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About the Contributor
Josie Barton, Sports Editor
Josie Barton ‘25 is a journalism major minoring in business at Chatham University. Josie is from the northern Pittsburgh area, transferring from Thiel College and ultimately deciding on Chatham for its city environment and inclusive and advanced communications program. She is the sports editor for the  Communiqué and she also writes news, lifestyle and opinion pieces. In addition to her work on the paper, she also enjoys playing lacrosse for Chatham, spending time with her animals, trying out new recipes to cook, writing creatively and reading anything and everything. Josie can be reached best at [email protected] or via her instagram @josiejosie.b.

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