U.S. Major League Soccer, MLS, launched its anti-discrimination campaign Wednesday, which requires all of the league's clubs to help facilitate inclusive environments for those involved in the game from the grassroots level all the way up to professional players and staff.
The community outreach campaign titled “Don't Cross the Line” aims to see that all involved in the sport are treated with respect, dignity and equality. Soccer in the U.S. has been growing in recent years, but often has struggled to include some of its fanatic minority supporters, particularly Latinos who have traditionally made up a significant proportion of fans, players and staff in the league.
One of the initiatives, called “Take the Pledge,” gives supporters the chance to connect with others by uploading their social media profile picture to an interactive virtual mosaic and publicly pledging their support for anti-discrimination. Users can also add comments to why they support the cause.
MLS Chief Administrative Officer, JoAnn Neale, said she was delighted that all 22 league clubs were involved in the campaign, adding that “Major League Soccer is committed to diversity and inclusion.”
A video for the campaign was launched in both English and Spanish featuring a player from every club. A number of international superstars currently playing for the MLS were featured in the video, including Brazilian player Kaka, Spain's record-holding scorer David Villa and U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The MLS is one of the most diverse sporting leagues in the U.S. and is thought to have at least 100 Latino players.