Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United came together on Monday morning with Pride Cup Australia and the Victorian Government, a month out from the A-Leagues Pride Cup to celebrate LGBTI+ inclusion.
The Pride Cup will see both the A-League Men and Women take to AAMI Park in a double header between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United – set for Sunday 26 February.
Melbourne Victory Captains Josh Brillante and Kayla Morrison were joined by Adelaide United’s Isabel Hodgson and Pride Cup Australia CEO James Lolicato to launch the theme of ‘Together’ for Pride Cup 2023.
“We’re working cooperatively with Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United, and the PFA to really shine the voice of the athletes, but also to encourage more LGBTI+ community members to be part of their fan base, to watch the game, sometimes for the very first time in an open and safe environment,” said Pride Cup CEO James Lolicato.
“The most important thing is that 18 months of work has gone into this game. It’s not just about putting on a rainbow and running out on the field, it’s about the education programs behind it.
“What’s really important is that players know the stats behind LGBTI+ inclusion, they know why it’s important, and they know what they can do to be the best allies possible for those who are watching on.”
Captain of Melbourne Victory’s A-League Men, Josh Brillante, is looking forward to the opportunity to lead his side in the Pride Cup.
“We have a special opportunity, and we have a platform here to be able to be inclusive to everyone, and show our support for the LGBTI+ community,” Brillante explained.
“It’s great to be able to have this opportunity to be able to learn more and for everyone to understand the situation that we’re in – and that we have a special opportunity here for everyone to feel comfortable and safe in an environment where they have such big love for football.”
Victory Women’s Captain, Kayla Morrison, is anticipating the Pride Cup match to be a celebration of the progress women’s football has made in the space.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to see their favourite footballers standing up for such a big issue,” Morrison said.
“If it’s something that they’re not too educated on, it gives them the chance to kind of dive into that, and learn something, and hopefully become better people for it.
“I think sport is one of the most important in this regard (LGBTI+ inclusion), not only with families, but children watching saying ‘I can be whoever I want to be, because she’s doing it as well, she’s great soccer player, I want to be like her’.”
Victory also showed off a special one-off kit to be worn by both A-League Men and Women, featuring the Pride Cup theme which features colours of the Progress Pride Flag.
The players showcased the new kits in front of the together lettering that will be decorated by an artist from the LGBTI+ community at the Victory Pride Village on match day.
27 days is all that separates us between now and the Pride Cup match between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, with tickets going on sale this week.