Let’s Kick It! The SF Spikes!

Photos & Story by Jeff Kaluzny / jeff@liveleft.com

Riding high on the recent triumph of Team USA’s World Cup glory, San Francisco’s own GLBT soccer club is looking forward to a successful close to the summer. The San Francisco Spike’s Soccer Club will be playing host for the 3rd Annual Folsom Weekend Soccer Tournament, September 25-17.

As their mission declares, “The San Francisco Spikes Soccer Club provides gay men and their allies with opportunities to compete in local leagues, represent San Francisco in tournaments worldwide, and play recreational soccer. We create a healthy, affordable and supportive environment for our members to play soccer at all levels, participate in gay social causes and events, build community, and have fun.”

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Founded in 1982, in tandem with the creation of the inaugural Gay Games which took place in San Francisco, the Spikes are the second only to the New York Rambler as the longest running soccer club in the United States to focus on the Gay and Lesbian community. The Spikes went on to send players to compete in each subsequent Games, claiming the first 3 Gold Medals from the early years of the Games and earning Gold in the most recent Games in Cleveland.

Since its inception, the SF Spikes has become a 501C3 non-profit organization which is welcoming to all genders, all identities, and all skill levels. The Spikes Club is more than a group of athletes playing on a pitch. They were borne of Gay Games founder Dr. Tom Waddell’s dream of “fostering self-respect, promoting equality, participation, personal best and inclusion of every sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political belief, athletic/artistic ability, age, physical challenge, and health status. We create a healthy, affordable, and supportive environment for our members to play soccer at all levels, participate in gay social causes and events, build community, and have fun.”

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They aim to provide athletes with opportunities to compete in local leagues, represent San Francisco in tournaments worldwide, and play recreational soccer. In addition to their Gold medal win at the Gay Games in Cleveland the Spikes spent the last year competing in national tournaments in Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York, Provincetown, and Philadelphia.

More than just an athletic club, they are an all-inclusive organization that supports its members and gives back to the local community. Recently, they created an “It Gets Better” video and were the first LGBT organization to host the Spirit of Futbol’s “The Ball” which traveled from England to San Francisco to Brazil before the 2014 World Cup.

In addition to accepting sponsorships from local and national businesses, the Spikes is funded by member dues, and the generosity of individual donors. Sponsors and donors help the Spikes provide scholarship opportunities for low income athletes to participate in international and national tournaments, subsidizes club membership dues, and pays for indoor league rentals, outdoor field rentals, uniforms, annual general meeting, scholarships, subsidizes outdoor team fees, insurance and equipment purchases. No one is turned away for lack of funds. To request a subsidy or scholarship email Info@SFSpikes.com.

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All genders, identities and skill-levels, regardless of income are welcome to join, practice, and compete with the Spikes. They offer both indoor and outdoor soccer programs for competitive, intermediate and recreational skill levels. Becoming a Spike is easy. Register below or show up at one of our indoor intramural nights (Mondays during the late Fall to early Spring) or our Thursday-night outdoor practices (Spring- Fall). To confirm practice locations visit their team Facebook page or website at www.SFSpikes.com.

The Spikes will be welcoming LGBT soccer players and their allies from all over the US to the 3rd Annual San Francisco Spikes’ Folsom Weekend Indoor Soccer Tournament taking place from September 25-27. All games will take place in Alameda at the Bladium Sports Arena (800 W Tower Ave). Play begins at 1:30 pm. Volunteers and hosts for out of town athletes are still needed.

Please visit the tournament website for further details on their website: spikesfolsomtourney.strikingly.com.