American soccer team walk off pitch after opposing player allegedly used homophobic slur 2 weeks ago

American soccer team walk off pitch after opposing player allegedly used homophobic slur

The team are managed by ex-Everton and LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan.

On Wednesday night, American soccer side San Diego Loyal walked off the pitch during their match against Phoenix Rising after a player suffered alleged homophobic abuse by an opponent.

San Diego Loyal play in the USL Championship in the second tier of American soccer, one rung below the MLS. They were 3-1 up against Phoenix Rising when midfielder Collin Martin is said to have suffered homophobic abuse.

In protest, the team walked off the pitch at the beginning of the second half. They first took the knee, then proceeded to walk off down the tunnel. The match did not continue.

Loyal boss Landon Donovan said:

"At the end of the first half, Collin came over after he had somehow been red carded. He told the fourth official he had been abused with a homophobic slur by one of their players."

Collin Martin came out as gay in 2018 while playing for MLS side Minnesota United. This made him the only 'out' male player in any top-tier professional football league.

After the match, San Diego Loyal released a statement through the USL Championship. In it, they said:

"We are aware of the alleged use of a homophobic slur in tonight's match between San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC. Foul and abusive language of any type has absolutely no place in our society and will not be tolerated in USL matches. An investigation is currently underway to determine the facts surrounding the incident and more information will be provided as soon as it is available."

Phoenix Rising also said they were investigating the complaints against their own player.

San Diego boss Landon Donovan said the team made the right decision.

"We've been through a lot recently.

"We owe it to ourselves, our community, our players, to the club, to USL - that we would not stand for bigotry, homophobic slurs - things that don't belong in our game."