What is Madison Pride Soccer and what is your role in it?
The Madison Pride Soccer Association (MPSA) is a new LGBTQ+ soccer league for the Madison area. Heavily based on the principals of the Madison Gay Hockey Association (MGHA), the MPSA is an adult developmental soccer league for people of all sexualities and gender identifications. I’m Tim (he/him) and am one of the league’s founders.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from me and a few others who were playing in a soccer league at Keva in 2019. Our group had just taken a class to learn soccer as an adult, and we decided to sign up for their lowest level of play. We got destroyed every game, and the competition wouldn’t let up, either. It just isn’t fun when the score is 10 to nothing every game.
A few of us on the team really longed for an experience similar to the MGHA, a league that is welcoming and where the final score is an afterthought. It was at that moment that the MPSA was born. Max (a friend who’s both in the MGHA and was playing at Keva) and I worked for the next six months getting field reservations, creating sign-up sheets, figuring out expenses, and getting the word out, and in early March 2020, we officially announced our league to the masses. COVID had other plans.
Between 2020 and 2022, the MPSA kind of existed but wasn’t truly official. We had some smaller clinics and pick-up games and had a rotating group of about 10–20 people. We had fun, and it was a great way to get some exercise, especially while so much was shut down.
In late 2022, another MGHA skater, Cas, reached out inquiring whether there was a soccer league like the MGHA, and they offered to help out with this season. We’ve been working together to get the MPSA up and running again. After a couple of months of planning, we officially opened signups for the summer season.
What is the play format?
For now, we’re just trying to get off the ground. We’ll be playing pick-up games, ideally in a 7v7 format, but we’ll stay flexible depending on how many people attend. The goal is to allow those who have never played to join a low-key group, get some exercise, and have some fun. Throughout the summer, I’m also hoping to have a few clinics to help those who have never played the sport before.
What are your plans for the first season?
I think we’re still feeling that out. Right now, we’re not planning to have any official games or a true “season” right out of the gate. We’re going to focus on growing the group and learning the sport. We’ll be doing a lot of pick-up games and some clinics, and if we get enough interest, we can create something more concrete next year with official games and a fully featured season.
Getting a season off the ground isn’t hard. It requires some level of effort, but having been so involved with planning the MGHA seasons for the last seven years, I am confident that when the MPSA is ready to grow that we’ll be ready to answer that call.
How can people join in, either participating or spectating?
If you have ever thought, even for a moment, that soccer is something you might want to try, I encourage you to come out and kick the ball around with us. If you’ve never kicked a soccer ball before, great! If you’ve been playing soccer your whole life, great! This group is meant to be a welcome space for all. Oh, and right now, participation costs nothing! (If you like the game, you’ll probably want to buy a pair of non-metal cleats and some shin guards, but we can tackle that later!)
While we don’t have an official website yet, we do have the MPSA group on Facebook and a Google Groups account (groups.google.com/g/madison-pride-soccer). All of our league messaging goes through the Groups account and you can catch up with past emails there. Please mention Our Lives when requesting to join.
Our league plays in Oregon (about 15 minutes south of Madison) on Sunday nights at 6:00. We have field time reserved through August. We will consider extending through the fall if there is enough interest.
We hope to see you on the field soon!