In a groundbreaking effort to curtail bullying and harassment and make the group more inclusive, the National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America has added a "Gay, Lesbian and Ally" page to its website.
"We have to make it clear the association stands for the acceptance of everyone," the group's president, Jack Huckel, told Soccer America magazine.
Huckel said reports of hazing were part of the impetus to launch the page, along with the organization's mission to improve coaching.
"If a kid is dealing with any issues that prevent him from focusing, he's not going to be as good a player as he could be," Dan Woog, who heads the association's LGBTQ committee, told Soccer America. "He's not going to be able to contribute what he could and that impacts the entire team."