Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson women’s soccer Plays with Pride

Kayla Buck
The Emerson women’s soccer team at a photo shoot for their upcoming “Play with Pride” game.

The Emerson College women’s soccer team has partnered with Athlete Ally, an organization that supports members of the LGBTQ+ community in sports. On Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 6:00 p.m., Emerson soccer will face Wellesley College at Rotch Field for their Play with Pride game. 

The Lions are taking donations and selling t-shirts, now and at the game, to help support Athlete Ally and their mission: Including LGBTQ+ people in sports at all competitive levels. 

“Athlete Ally helps shed light on the inequality in sports and unfair treatment amongst all competition levels, in turn, their mission is to promote inclusivity throughout various sports from the youth age to the professionals,” states Athlete Ally on its website.

In an attempt to promote inclusivity in sports, the team has chosen to partner with Athlete Ally, with a portion of the proceeds from Wednesday’s game going to the foundation. 

“We’ve been able to raise money and awareness by putting flyers around the school and we even had a table in the alleyway to help raise money,” said Kaylin O’Meara, first-year defender. “We also have Lions Soccer Pride t-shirts that we’ve been selling and part of the proceeds go to Athlete Ally.” 

The players, much like players on the men’s and women’s basketball teams last year, decided to use their platform as college athletes to spread awareness about inclusivity in sports. 

“We all wanted to use our platform for good and this was something that meant a lot to a lot of people on the team, me included,” said Brittney Righetti, senior forward. “Sports at their core are meant to be inclusive … We don’t always see that on teams and a lot of it is perpetuated by various coaches.” 

Athlete Ally helps shed light on inequality in sports, in turn, they strive to advocate for equal access and opportunity for all gender expressions and sexual orientations at every competition level. Emerson Soccer strongly supports Athlete Ally’s work and hopes to inform other students about the organization.

“A lot of what Athlete Ally does is educate players and different staff at the youth level, at the collegiate level, at the professional level, to make everything a more inclusive setting for all parties included,” Righetti said. 

The women’s soccer team wants to leave a lasting impression—not just at the school, but in the world. By partnering with an organization like Athlete Ally, they believe they are doing just that. 

“Everyone wanted to do something and they saw that we had the means to actually pull through with these events,” said Ava Salti, senior goalkeeper. “The whole team agreed that doing it for LGBTQ+ rights would just be perfect, and we’re gonna do more events like this because it just exemplifies the meaning of being an athlete.” 

The team’s decision to partner with an LGBTQ+ organization stemmed from wanting athletes to feel included, on and off the field. 

“Playing with pride means that while we’re on the field or off the field we just want to make sure that everyone in the world has the opportunity to play sports because we love them so much,” Salti said. “We believe that everybody deserves that opportunity, so when we go out there onto the field we’re playing with pride, and we want everyone else to feel like they belong as well.”  

The team also wanted other athletes to feel the same sense of community and acceptance that the Emerson women’s soccer team offers.

“Playing with pride, to me, means finding a safe space to be included and to really allow yourself to shine,” Righetti said. “[It’s] something that the Emerson soccer team has allowed me to do personally, just by having such an amazing group of girls who I trust. We have this team camaraderie that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. I know they always have my back and I know I’m always safe with them.”  

The women’s soccer team strives to promote inclusivity in all sports and help change the narrative of sports altogether. For Righetti and her teammates, it’s not only about competition but also a sense of belonging and community within an athlete’s team and sport. 

“Sports, historically, have been very ridden with toxic masculinity and ideals that you have to be tough or you have to act a certain way,” she said. “[It’s about] breaking down those stereotypes and realizing that sports can be whatever you want them to be.”

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Smitten
Kaitlyn Smitten, Staff Writer
Kaitlyn Smitten (she/her) is a freshman journalism student from Red Deer, Alberta. Canada. Kaitlyn is a part of the Emerson College softball team and enjoys traveling, reading, and listening to music. She aspires to be an investigative and/or breaking news reporter.

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