Canada Soccer, You Can Play project enter into four-year partnership


Canada Soccer is committed to provide a safe, accessible, inclusive and developmentally-appropriate soccer experience for all who participate in the beautiful game in Canada. In that spirit, Canada Soccer and The You Can Play Project announced that both organisations have entered into a new four-year partnership. You Can Play is an organisation dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches and fans no matter their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The initial agreement spells out key deliverables, kickstarting their partnership ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, with a commitment to deliver and build on this agreement in the months and years ahead.

“This important partnership is another step in our organisation’s evolution and journey to ensure that our sport is safe and open to everyone — no matter your sexual orientation, gender identity, or who you choose to love,” said Earl Cochrane, Canada Soccer General Secretary. “We are announcing this now because we want the international conversations around LGBTQ2S+ issues in Qatar to continue well beyond the final whistle, and to recommit to ensuring that our own policies, teams and the environments where we work and play are the safest they can be.”

In addition to You Can Play serving as the primary resource on LGBTQ2S+ matters for Canada Soccer leading into and during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the initial elements of the new partnership include:

  • Establish an outreach hotline for all participants associated with Canada Soccer
  • LGBTQ2S+ training conducted by You Can Play for both of our National Teams, Canada Soccer staff and Board Members
  • Identify You Can Play player ambassadors and establish a national educational outreach program
  • Commit to finding opportunities to raise funds for You Can Play throughout the year
  • Conduct a national survey to better understand current challenges for LGBTQ2S+ youth and players in our sport
  • A comprehensive review of Canada Soccer policies and programs conducted by You Can Play
  • Designate a dedicated Canada Soccer staff member to manage and lead the You Can Play partnership

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Canada Soccer and to be a valued LGBTQ2S+ resource and partner,” said David Palumbo, Vice Chair of Board, You Can Play Project. “I want to thank Earl and his team for our conversations in recent months and for placing their trust in our organisation. We look forward to collectively building on the important work of making Canada’s soccer pitches, boardrooms and locker-rooms a more accessible and safer place for everyone.” 

“As we look forward to co-hosting the FIFA World Cup 2026, this partnership will evolve and will provide an opportunity for Canada Soccer to show the world how  the power of our sport can impact real lives, and be a beacon of hope for everyone who loves our game,” added Cochrane.