Unlike last year's Men's World Cup tournament which featured zero openly gay players, this year's women's equivalent dominated on the queer front with nearly 20 openly out players and coaches, four of whom were on the winning U.S. team.
Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of Outsports, joked with HuffPost Live's Alex Berg on Thursday that he doesn't think anyone is "surprised" by a lesbian being on a soccer team. But he explained why it's so "powerful" to see queer players like Abby Wambach, whom he called "a symbol of American soccer," and Megan Rapinoe representing the Women's World Cup.
"The fact that it was these women [like] out and proud Wambach talking about how getting married to her wife really reinvigorated her interest in soccer," he explained. "And then, after the final match, running over and finding her wife in the stands and embracing her and kissing her on national television."
Zeigler reminded us that just one year ago, Michael Sam faced heavy criticism for kissing his boyfriend on national television upon learning about his NFL draft selection. In contrast, Wambach's (heart-melting) kiss was "celebrated."
"I think it's who it is and how powerfully strong they have been in being out, proud women -- I think that's really the story," Zeigler said, adding that it's "awesome" to see more players come out to inspire the youth who are struggling with their sexual orientation.
"We at Outsports have not heard of a negative coming out story in sports for 15 years and we believe that virtually everyone can come out to their team and they would be welcomed and embraced," he said.
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