(Credit: Empire Supporters Club)

The New York Red Bulls are off due to the international break with only a handful of players called up for national team duty. Usually that would give fans a chance to sit back and relax. Maybe think about the upcoming schedule. The upcoming quarterfinal in the U.S. Open Cup may have been a hot topic to discuss.

But that isn’t the case for everyone. Currently, multiple supporter organizations are hard at work raising money for LGBTQ+ causes during the month of June. All of this is happening under one umbrella event; Prideraiser.

Founded in 2017, Prideraiser happens yearly during June (Pride month) and includes hundreds of groups from around the country. Self described as a coalition, the goal is to raise money and awareness for various causes using soccer as a social platform. The model continues to grow with the supporter community and has evolved into what it is today.

As the official website says perfectly; Prideraiser was built by supporters, for supporters.

Any group, whether that be an official supporter’s group or just a loose association, can sign up. Each participating group link’s themselves to a charitable cause for the month. People can then pledge to donate money, either one-time or recurring. Three local groups are taking part hoping to spread awareness and raise funds for various causes.

First up, the lone RBNY participant. For the first time ever, the Empire Supporter’s Club has decided to take part in the festivities. One of the oldest supporter’s groups in Major League Soccer, ESC has been a stable in the South Ward and Giants Stadium since 1996. This isn’t the group’s first dable with charity and they’ve decided to keep that local flavor by supporting and advocating for the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence. As of this writing, the effort has pledged to donate over $100 per goal scored by RBNY between May 31 and July 3.

ESC isn’t the only group that calls Red Bull Arena home that is taking part, however. In fact, their neighbors are well versed with Prideraiser and LGBTQ+ efforts. Cloud 9 is the independent supporter’s group for NJ/NY Gotham FC (formerly known as Sky Blue FC) of the National Women’s Soccer League. For 2022, the group is raising funds for the New York City based Ali Forney Center. As the largest LGBT community center in the United States, the organization provides aid for LGBTQ homeless youth.

The group has already pledged to donate $176 per Gotham goal between June 1 and July 2.

Those looking for a more New York state group to roll with might consider raising funds with Dutch Guard SG. The official supporter’s group of amateur team Kingston Stockade FC, DG welcomes soccer fans in Hudson Valley. Over time the group has grown in size and scope, becoming one of the larger amateur SG’s in the northeast. This year, the group is partnering with Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley with fans pledging whenever the first team or U23s score a goal.

The Trans Closet was founded to combat clothing and economic insecurity in the Hudson Valley’s transgender community. That includes helping to reduce people’s dysphoria and support their own self-expression. Additionally, the organization helps facilitate the sharing of social, emotional, and creative support within the LGBTQ+ community.

The Dutch Guard has pledged to donate $75 per goal during the month of June.

The Red Bulls and the rest of MLS have also decided to take part in Pride month. Starting in May, the team along with every other squad in the league began wearing “Pride kits” during match warmups. These kits are available to purchase for fans however none of the proceeds are going to any LGBTQ+ organization or charity.

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