Fantasy sports have always been lost on me, even with the option of choosing teams based on my favorite color. That was until I found out that the NWSL has a fantasy league. If you’re unfamiliar with the NWSL, National Women’s Soccer League, they are the most openly gay league in sports. Now in their second season with nine teams, they have made a huge impact within the LGBT community. The Portland Thorns, along with the mens’ team the Timbers, were the first professional sports teams in the nation to endorse a marriage equality ballot measure. The Chicago Fire worked with Equality Illinois while they worked through the legislature for marriage equality, The Seattle Reign made a video for the You Can Play Project, becoming the first Women’s professional team in the US to participate, and an overwhelming 18 NWSL players have joined the Athlete Ally program as Ambassadors, representing seven teams across the league, as well as both the US and Canadian National Teams.
If you think that’s empowering, you should probably do your best to make it to a game or five as these women are inspirational. I defy you not to break out into happy sobs when you see how many little girls look up to them as roll models. But enough with all the do-gooder talk, seems the fantasy league allows you to make an entire team of your favorites, or if you’re like me, an entire team of out ladies and allies. The NWSLFL is a free 19-week fantasy soccer league based upon the NWSL season. Each week you are allowed to create a squad based on all the active players in the NWSL. To be a valid and active roster for a given week your squad must consist of:
You’ll need 11 starting players each week and four reserve players (one per position). A reserve player will take the place of a starter of the same position only if the starter does not play in a match for a given week; otherwise the reserve player will earn zero points. For example, if I have Abby Wambach as a starting forward and Megan Rapinoe as a reserve forward and Wambach never enters the game, then she would be replaced by Rapinoe and I would earn points for Rapinoe. Not like Wambach would ever sit out an entire game, but you get the idea.
The only restrictions are that you can only have up to five NWSL Allocated Players on your team and up to five players from the same NWSL team. So basically, you’re only allowed five members from the National Team on your squad and you can’t select the entire Portland Thorns roster.
The NWSLFL Fantasy League week runs Friday through Thursday with the roster deadline at 1:00PM CDT on the day of the first game in any given week. You have till April 12 to sign up, after the new season’s rosters were announced earlier this week. The good news about reselecting a team each week is that it’s almost impossible to fit all the gay ladies on one team. I’m expecting to kick some serious ass with my current team for opening day this Saturday. If you’re still unconvinced, have a little look at my team, The GoldStars, for some inspiration.
“I am very open about this, because I am of the opinion there are nice guys and nice women. Besides, I find it totally silly to have a general definition. … I see no problem for me to come out of the closet. This is nothing new for me, so I can deal with the issue in a totally relaxed manner.”
Sub: Ashlyn Harris (WSH)
Ali Krieger (WSH)
Amy LePeilbet (FCKC)
Sub: Estelle Johnson (WNY)
“As somebody who has dealt with discrimination in their life, supporting the LGBT community through the struggle is important to me. Athlete Ally gives me that avenue.”
Meleana Shim (POR)
“I’m a lesbian who will continue to advocate for LGBT rights until sexuality isn’t used to make people uncomfortable or unsafe. I remember being a young girl and wondering if there were any professional athletes like me. Every aspiring athlete who is questioning his or her sexuality should have positive role models who are proud of who they are.”
Jessica Fishlock (SEA)
Keelin Winters (SEA)
Joanna Lohman (BOS)
Joanna Lohman of the NWSL’s Boston Breakers was named to The Advocate magazine’s 40 Under 40 List last year and in 2010, while playing for the Philadelphia Independence, where Lohman met her partner, Lianne Sanderson. Together they launched an organization called GO! Athletes that aims encourage schools to create safer spaces for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning athletes
Lori Lindsey (WSH)
“Coming to terms with your sexuality can be a lonely process. I was lucky to have a strong support system of family and friends as I was coming out. I realize many people don’t have that so if I can reach even one person or be someone’s support system then I’ll feel as if I’ve made a difference. That’s why I’m an ally.”
Sub: Sarah Huffman (POR)
While a part of the New York Flash and now part of the Portland Thorns, Huffman became the driving force in having league players join Athlete Ally, the anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia effort.
“I am proud to be an athlete ally because I dream of a world full of equal opportunities and treatment. I believe that sports are a place where everybody belongs. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation, race, gender have no place in the world–nevertheless sports. I am excited to be an ally and stand up for people like me in the LGBT community.”
Christine Sinclair (POR)
Abby Wambach (WNY)
Liz Bogus (FCKC)
“I am an Athlete Ally because I believe all people, no matter what their sexual orientation, deserve respect. I want children to learn acceptance for all at an early age, something I hope to foster as a professional soccer player and Athlete Ally.”
Megan Rapinoe (SEA)
How do you think The Goldstars will stack up against other fantasy NWSL teams? Create your own on www.nwslfl.com.