Pride Month will run just a bit longer for those supporting Canadian Premier League clubs.
Several CPL supporters groups have started raising money for local LGBTQ2+ organizations through Prideraiser – a soccer supporters-specific fundraiser that allows fans to donate and be stacked against one another.
Cavalry FC group Foot Soldiers, who kickstarted this week’s campaign along with Forge FC’s Barton St. Battalion, Valour FC’s Red River Rising, HFX Wanderers FC’s Privateers 1882, and Pacific FC’s Lake Side Buoys, ran a Prideraiser in their first season but, as group lead Craig MacTavish says, the group wanted to expand and add a bit of rivalry and make it a competition hopefully leading to more funds for their organization of choice, Calgary OutLink.
“It should be very competitive between our groups… It’s not just how good your team is but how much money you put down,” MacTavish said. “Foot Soldiers are looking at this, seeing a bunch of offensive firepower this year, and our lineup looks pretty promising so our pledges are definitely going to affect that.”
Fans can chip in a couple of bucks per goal scored by their club at The Kickoff with proceeds benefiting a local LGBTQ2+ organization.
Prideraiser has also allowed CPL groups to use the platform well past the end of June – which in many jurisdictions is Pride month.
For Red River Rising’s Nicky Cottee, jumping hand-in-hand with other groups was an important move to make and, in turn, raising money for Rainbow Harmony Project, an LGBTQ2+ choir in Winnipeg.
“It means a lot for our group – we’ve always had a very inclusive community feel so everybody’s welcome,” Cottee told CanPL.ca, recalling the arrival of a pride flag at IG Field for the club’s home opener. “We want there to be no apprehension for those things. In this case, we took it and ran right away – put it right at the front of the stand.”
MacTavish sees the same for the Foot Soldiers in Calgary which, don’t look now, currently leads supporters groups in dollars per pledge at $55.88 CAD for every goal scored.
“At Cavalry games, we want to make sure we have that inclusive place where people can come as their authentic selves and OutLink helps people in our community be their authentic selves so I think it’s a good match.”
To visit the supporters’ group’s Prideraiser page, click here.
Other benefiting organizations include Victoria Pride Society (Pacific FC, Lake Side Buoys), The Youth Project (HFX Wanderers, Privateers), and Speqtrum (Forge FC, Barton St. Battalion).