Watch: U.S. Men's Soccer Team Takes Rainbow Crest to Qatar

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday November 15, 2022

Watch: U.S. Men's Soccer Team Takes Rainbow Crest to Qatar

The U.S. Men's soccer team will be showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community while in the homophobic nation of Qatar by wearing a rainbow version of the team crest.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported that the team has "chang[ed] the usual red stripes on their crest to a rainbow," and though the rainbow crest will not grace player's uniforms during games at the World Cup, "the new colors will be shown off at their practice facilities."

"The design features seven rainbow-colored vertical stripes below 'USA' in dark blue letters," detailed UK newspaper the Guardian, which added that the rainbow motif "is part of the 'Be The Change' initiative the team adopted in 2020 with the goal of inspiring action on social justice issues."

The team's head coach, Gregg Berhalter, addressed the colorful crests, saying at a Nov. 14 press conference, "When we are on the world stage and when we are in a venue like Qatar, it is important to bring awareness to these issues and that is what 'Be the Change' is about."

"It is not just Stateside that we want to bring attention to social issues," Berhalter added, "it is also abroad."

"The tournament, which starts on Sunday and sees the U.S. play their opener against Wales on Monday, has been hugely controversial in its build-up, given Qatar's human rights record and attitude to homosexuality," the Mail backgrounded.

"As recently as this month, a Qatar World Cup ambassador told a German TV broadcaster that homosexuality was 'damage to the mind,' and it remains illegal to be gay in the conservative Muslim country," the article went on to add.

The supportive palette extended to the team's press room in Qatar, according to Sports Illustrated.

A spokesperson for U.S. Soccer, Neil Buethe, told Reuters, "As part of our approach to every match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, and to promote a spirit of inclusion and welcome for all fans around the world."

"As a result, venues that we will manage and operate during the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media rooms and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow U.S. Soccer branding," Buethe added.

Watch Coach Berhalter's comments below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.