Major League Lacrosse Players Coming to Philly This Weekend for First Annual Courage Game

Major League lacrosse star Andrew Goldstein with Philly out youth and fellow lacrosse player Braeden.

Major League lacrosse players from around the country are convening in Philadelphia Sunday for the first annual Courage Game, held in conjunction with the NCAA Championship Weekend. The event was co-founded by two-time Dartmouth “All American” Andrew Goldstein and Washington-based coach Nick Welton to “encourage and support gay youth, rebuke bullying and promote wider education and awareness of LGBT equality within the sport of lacrosse.’

The whole thing started when the father of a local 12-year-old boy named Braeden contacted Goldstein after his son came out to his lacrosse team. He noticed that, due to the response of his peers, Braeden began to become withdrawn from family, friends and teammates. He even mentioned not wanting to “be here anymore.”

Goldstein responded to the call with this video of support:

After the video Goldstein teamed up with Welton and LGBT-supportive organization You Can Play Project (partially headed up by Philly’s Anna Aagenes) to recruit gay players for a game to support Braeden and other young, gay lacrosse players.

“The response has been tremendous,” says Welton. “We couldn’t have asked for a better set of circumstances with Braeden being in Philadelphia, where the NCAA happened to be hosting Championship Weekend this year. We’re all excited to be a part of something this meaningful.”

The game will take place on Sunday, March 24th at Adams Field in Penn Park, with a youth game at 9 am and an “open division” game, for those 16 and older, at 10:30 am. Major League Lacrosse players slated to attend include Mike Poppleton, Jerry Rangonese, and Greg Gurenlian.

“We’re happy to be able to bring together a great group of players from a broad range of backgrounds to demonstrate to Braeden and other young players that they’re not alone,” says Goldstein. “With Michael Sam, Jason Collins, and Robbie Rogers coming out recently, sports and the LGBT community have been major topics of discussion from a professional standpoint. It’s really about empowering young people though and letting them know that, whatever their fears may be, they’re not different or lesser – they’re just athletes like anyone else.”

For more information and to sign up to play, go here. For warm fuzzies, check out Braeden’s response to the Courage Game below: