Austin da Luz wrote -
Hello! My Name is Austin da Luz. I’m a professional soccer player for North Carolina FC in the North American Soccer League. This season I’ll be Playing for Pride, and I want you to join me. Sounds cool, right? Want to know more? Stay with me.
Basically, for every game I play this season I’m going to donate money to the Playing for Pride CrowdRise fund. My hope is that you will agree to follow along with me. Here’s the breakdown: $2 for every game played, $3 for every game started, $4 for every assist, and $5 for every goal. I’m many things, but a prolific goal scorer isn’t one of them, so this will most likely amount to a few bucks a week. Doable, right? I think so too. At the end of the season, all of the money we raise together will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign.
Why the Human Rights Campaign? And, more broadly, why do this at all? Well, first of all the Human Rights Campaign is a very dope organization that fights for LGBTQ rights and equality across the country. They do amazing and important work, and they are worthy of every dollar they get. As for the bigger “why?” there are a couple different reasons. 1.) I’m a proud North Carolinian, and over the past year our home has become the poster child for discrimination against the LGBTQ community. I’m super not into that. I think we’ve been misrepresented and I want to continue fighting against that perception. 2.) We live in troubled times, and I’m constantly dogged by the feeling that I’m not doing enough to help. I watch/read the news, I get angry, I tweet about it. Rinse and repeat. None of this makes me feel better. I see family, friends, and strangers alike doing incredible things to help people and causes every day, so I started thinking about ways to make a tangible difference, big or small. This was literally the easiest way I could think of. I already play soccer, why not just add in charitable giving. Boom. Hopefully you can relate to one or both of these reasons.
Ok, this all sounds great, but what happens if I don’t play? Injuries happen. I could also just start to be bad at soccer, that happens. Well, hopefully I’m not going to be the only one Playing for Pride. I anticipate a few of my teammates joining in, and would love to spread this far and wide. Different teams. Different sports. Who knows? You’ll be able to pick any player you want for the season. Pick a different player every game. Pop in for a game here and there. However you want to participate, you’re free to do so. Think of it as charitable gambling. One-time, no-reason donations are obviously encouraged and accepted as well.
Ok, rad, but last question: why not just give directly to the Human Rights Campaign? Excellent query. Short answer, this is more fun. Longer answer, I want to create a community of people united behind a worthy cause. Donating money is good and necessary, but I also want to help shape the message that the soccer community, and the sporting community in general, are open and welcoming and diverse and very awesome. It’s true that CrowdRise takes three percent of the money donated, so when this is all said and done I will donate an extra three percent of whatever we raise to cover it.
Alright, I think that’s everything. I’m going to kick this thing off with a $3 donation since i started our first game last week. Big money! Follow @playingforpride on twitter for updates on more player reps and donation alerts. You can also tweet/DM any questions to that handle, or mine @austindaluz. Use the hashtag #PlayingforPride to get the word out. Share, share, share. Thanks!