Pro Soccer Player: Supporting Non-Discrimination Is About Leveling the Playing Field
You may know Chris Seitz as the Goalkeeper on Texas’ soccer team FC Dallas, but what you may not know is that in his free time, Chris is an outspoken advocate against discrimination towards LGBT people. That’s what cause him to get involved with the efforts of Texas Wins and other groups working to prevent discrimination against LGBT people.
“It’s something we all need to stand up for and really voice our opinions and fight for change,” Chris says.
Chris, who is happily married with a one-year-old daughter and another on the way, has spent the last four years making Texas home.
“My wife and I love it, my daughter was born here. We live in a very nice neighborhood and the cost of living out here is awesome,” Chris exclaims.While Chris says he has always been open-minded towards gay and transgender people, he became increasingly motivated to speak out against discrimination when his roommate and former teammate at University of Maryland, Robbie Rogers was the first male professional athlete in the United States to publicly come out as gay.
“My college roommate at University of Maryland was Robbie Rogers. Robbie came out last year after briefly retiring from soccer, now he’s back and playing with the LA Galaxy. He’s a good friend of mine and someone I grew up playing with. We went to college together and I lived with him.”
Chris adds, “It’s awesome to see him come out and really be truly happy and continue… to live the way that he wants to.”
As teammates and college roommates, Chris saw Robbie work hard on and off the field. His passion for soccer and his commitment to the sport never wavered. Now that Robbie has come out as gay, Chris has only seen his friend grow—and can’t imagine why anyone would want to use his sexual orientation against him.
“It’s something we all need to stand up for and really voice our opinions and fight for change.”
“I think him coming out and getting the weight off his shoulders has helped him. Obviously I can’t speak for him, but he’s a heck of a soccer player. That’s really all that matters in terms of our profession, and he’s a great guy.”
While Robbie’s story is one of empowerment and acceptance, Chris understands that not all gay and transgender people will have the entire country rally behind them. For far too many, it will be an uphill battle to do the simple things we all must do—like find a job and a home to raise our families. That some people are denied this ability is just wrong, explains Chris.
“It really does blow my mind. It’s sad and it’s something that’s definitely not right. I think everyone needs to sit down and realize what’s in front of us and realize what this does to people who are just like you and me.”
That some people would be denied our most basic fundamental rights—like the ability to get a job, find housing—is not only wrong to Chris, it’s also not in line with the deep-seated values he’s come to associate with Texas, which he now calls home.Chris explains, “If you’re telling me that Texas is a state that is open minded and wants people to be free and leave government out of it, that isn’t in line with restricting someone from who they are.”
“For me I’m free to do what I want. And that’s what America stands for. That’s what makes this country so great, and why so many people want to come here. It gives every person the opportunity to be themselves. The fact that there are laws in place that don’t allow it and .. discourage it, that’s something that needs to change.”
“But for me, if I can get some people to have an open mind and hear about the issues, then I’m doing my part. I don’t want to press anything on anyone but I want people to be open minded and look at things from a perspective different than their own and really start to learn that change is possible and change is something that is good for the state and good for the country.”
But Chris sees hope for change, and believes that we can create a state and a country where no one should have to fear being who they are—but only if we work together like a team.
“There’s got to be a lot of people on board, a lot of people that have to work towards change. First, you need a group of people to get people together and push the issue to the forefront. I have to do my role, we all after do our role. In soccer it’s quite similar, we all have to work together in order to succeed.”
As successful and accomplished as Chris is, he’s quite modest and often underestimates his role as an influencer. Still he feels it’s important to use his platform to push for equality and fairness for all.
“I guess in some terms I have a platform that some people will listen to. I don’t necessarily have a big following or anything like that, I just play professional soccer. But for me, if I can get some people to have an open mind and hear about the issues, then I’m doing my part. I don’t want to press anything on anyone but I want people to be open minded and look at things from a perspective different than their own and really start to learn that change is possible and change is something that is good for the state and good for the country.”