The Corner Flags We Didn’t Know We Needed

A pride-themed USA corner flag.
A pride-themed USA corner flag is seen during the USMNT's international friendly matchup against Costa Rica on June 9, 2021, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

People say there are two things that connect us all together, regardless of native tongue, and that’s music and sports. 

In honor of Pride Month, US Soccer revealed new corner flags in an expanded effort “to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.” The flags were a welcoming sight during the USWNT’s first Summer Series fixture on June 10.

With the month of June dubbed as Pride Month, sports teams and companies across the globe are weighing in to show their support. Here, US Soccer wanted to shake things up. While not the first time the USWNT has represented the LGBTQ+ community, it’s the kind of detail that spectators may not be used to.

Corner flags. Not just the back of a kit with a rainbow hue filling in names and numbers, nor just a captain’s armband to symbolize the LGBTQ+ community. Now corner flags, an integral feature of any football pitch, enter into the mix.

At every football match we have multiple flags flying. Club flags, country flags, the various LGBTQ+ flags, and fan supporters club flags. Flags mean everything to us in a patriotic and fanatic sense. On the pitch, spectators rarely see change in the design of corner flags. For US fans particularly, the usual red with white trim flags are commonplace.

So, why is this such a big deal? These were the corner flags we didn’t know we needed to see. Why would one want to stick to the normal red corner flags when our world is ever-changing?

Representation on the pitch

The traditional way of play is evolving with new advances in training, audio-visual, and pace of the game. These changes reflect our own world as we speak. More and more, the world of football is reaching new heights for inclusion and support for its fans and players. This sentiment shows the strides that not only US Soccer is taking to recognize the LGBTQ+ community but also how our world is no longer viewing sexual orientation in a traditional lens.

This was a spectacle and milestone for the LGBTQ+ community to be more than seen, but for that feeling of inclusivity. The USSF, United States Soccer Federation, has “One Nation, One Team” as the encompassing slogan for the women’s and men’s national teams. The slogan was on display in the purest and easiest way during the Summer Series.

Inclusivity happened as those corner flags were placed out on the pitch. No matter where we are from, no matter the background, being included is what we all desire. Whether that be in our teams, in our jobs and/or in our friends and family circles. The LGBTQ+ community appreciated the statement this little yet significant change made in the formative footballing world. 

June is the designated month to sideline labels. Pride fills our hearts for the LGBTQ+ community to be who they are without fear of ridicule. This simple statement made by US Soccer sets the bar in sports to make inclusivity a new norm. It further recognizes and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in a new way.

Not only will the flags fly in each of the stadiums, but they will stand valiantly in each corner of the pitch. Such an action sends a message that the LGBTQ+ community is included on the pitch, flying in those corner flags!

Regardless of a designated month in which we are to celebrate this community, one has to remember that we are one nation, one team, and we are all human.