D.C. United fans are invited to come out for another year of soccer and support for the LGBT community.
The eighth annual United Night OUT is Wednesday, July 25 at 6 p.m. at Audi Field (100 Potomac Ave. S.W.). Hosted by Team DC and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club, D.C. United Soccer Club will play the New York Red Bulls.
The annual game is the second largest in Team D.C.’s Night OUT event series after Night OUT with the Nationals.
“It’s a natural fit for the Night OUT series, and it has continued to grow,” says Jim Ensor, chief organizer of the event and co-captain of the Federal Triangles Soccer Club Unicorns.
A portion of ticket sales, which are $30 each, will go toward a non-profit LGBT organization. Some of the money will be used to support the Federal Triangles’ two teams that will be playing at Gay Games 10 in Paris.
“It’s a good fundraiser, it’s social and it’s to support a local team,” he says.
Ensor said that he “felt compelled” to organize a special gay event with D.C. United.
“It’s been my baby from the start. … I’ve been a D.C. United fan since 1996 and I’m part of the LGBT community,” he says.
Ensor says he wanted to help people from Federal Triangles, an LGBT club, feel comfortable going to professional soccer games.
“It’s about getting people who wouldn’t normally go to soccer games out there,” he says.
D.C. United has been supportive personally and publicly. The Night OUT series has also helped the LGBT community gain visibility, Ensor says. Gaining corporate partners for the event was also helpful.
“D.C. United is a reasonably priced, successful club. I wanted it to be a part of the (LGBT) community, which is underserved in general. (Night OUT) is a way to bridge that gap and bring the two together,” he says.
Although some of the special features of the event are still in the works due to the new facility, there will be pregame festivities and discounted ticket prices. The match will only be the second game D.C. United has played on the new field. There will also be a VIP area for groups of 10 or more people.
The game will also feature giveaways and incentives like rainbow scarves. Group leaders with 10 or more guests will receive a 2018 commemorative D.C. United scarf and group leaders with 20 or more guests will receive a replica jersey. Last year, D.C. United players wore rainbow numbers on their uniforms and the team captain’s rainbow armband was sold to raise money.
The Night OUT event has also received support from D.C. United supporter club the Screaming Eagles.
“Through this event, they found that they’ve had LGBT supporters that they didn’t even know about,” Ensor says.
Last year, the event drew 550 people, and was close to 700 people the previous year. Ensor is hoping the new stadium will generate interest.
Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or Eventbrite.com. The promotional code to purchase tickets via Ticketmaster is “uno.” Ensor says this represents the mantra for the event: one game, one community, united.
“I hope we can all come together, even if it’s for one night, and be uno,” he says.