“It was a hard time,” remembered Kai, who saw limited action under former coach Greg Ryan as one of the last three players added to the 2007 World Cup roster. “I had missed the first camp [under Sundhage] in early-January because I had bronchitis, and I was going through a nasty break-up with my girlfriend. Then [Coach Sundhage] told me my job was on the line.”
KickTV isn’t like mainstream sports media. The Youtube channel is closer to a fan forum. Conrad is very relaxed and familiar with his interview subjects, and his interviews are conducted with a sense of humor. The whole affect of the video is closer to what soccer culture actually feels like (alternately technical, serious, self-deprecating, goofy, bashful). It is much more familiar to me than is anything I’ve seen from NBC this summer.
Conrad’s question seemed pulled from conversations about the men’s game. Things are pretty stark in that world. It is indeed hard to imagine a current EPL player coming out to the media. The question seemed like it was pointing in the direction of the men’s game, but this wasn’t at all clear.
In any case, when it comes to naming a player as not only lesbian, but “out,” in the women’s game we are often discerning between shades of gray. In an interview for a program called Abbey Road, for example, Marta was asked about the impact of her international travel on her relationship with her girlfriend (also a soccer player). She said that of her two loves, soccer comes first. Is that a coming out? Can a player be out in Sweden but not in the US? Seems so. So why, in the US, does the air get sucked out of the room when the word lesbian is put in the same sentence as “Marta”? Perhaps while she was under contract with the WPS, the desire was that everyone practice a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy? What was the fear,exactly? That lesbians might suddenly start attending soccer matches?
- Completely Closeted Concealing lesbian identity from all in athletic context
- Passing as heterosexual Intentionally leading selected others in athletic context to see self as heterosexual
- Covering lesbian identity Concealing lesbian identity from selected others in athletic context
- Implicitly out Allowing selected others in ahtletic conext to see self as lesbian without naming self
- Explicitly out Intentionally revealing lesbian identity to selected others in athletic context
- Publicly out Revelaing lesbian identity to everyone in athletic context.
You’ve vocally supported the lesbian and gay community. What do you think about the absence of out athletes in sports? Do you think we’ll see a high profile soccer player come out soon?
Hopefully. I think that obviously we’re out there. It’s weird. I guess on the female side, not on the men’s side. But it’s accepted within the teams and within the sport. But it seems sports is that last…institutional homophobia.
As we all know, Megan Rapinoe has gone on to have a fantastic tournament. Obviously, there’s no hiding from that.