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    San Francisco Spikes Soccer Club Scores Goals and Friendships


    Matthew Shambroom has been a competitive soccer player all of his life. He also happens to be gay.

    For the longest time, those two qualities could not co-exist at the same time within him, and this mutual exclusivity was a thorn on his side. In other words, he could not be a gay competitive soccer player.  In 2001, when Google was just an embryo, Matthew manually searched and found (does anyone remember how to do this?) the San Francisco Spikes, a gay soccer club.

    “The day I found the Spikes, it was a transformative day for me,” he says. “I became Matthew the soccer player and Matthew the gay man. The last 16 years with the Spikes, I’ve traveled all over, and competed against teams and met passionate gay soccer players from all over the world. I’ve made life-long friendships and established commonalities with other gay soccer communities.”

    To Matthew, these experiences are everything: his sense of self, identity and pride.

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    Now Matthew is the President of the San Francisco Spikes Soccer Club. Under his leadership, Spikes saw an unprecedented expansion and interest in soccer within our community. From a once humble and unassuming one-team gay soccer club, Spikes is now a formidable 501(C)3 LGBT sports organization housing five competing teams (Academy, Wreckit, Classics, Vice and Baewatch), with coaches, clinics, tournaments, fundraisers and a host of soccer events. Matthew genuinely wants to make available to anyone what soccer has given him: that strength and pride of being both a gay person and a soccer player.

    With a strong coaching and playing pedigree, Jose Nava currently coaches the Spikes Academy soccer team, which is a beginner to intermediate Spikes team where players have an invested interest in learning, training and practicing. During practices players can hear Jose’s passion and enthusiasm as he teaches and directs players of varying skill sets and athletic abilities. Jose could play for any team, but chose to join Spikes because of the friendships. He says “Friendships in gay soccer are stronger and much more deeply rooted because we share similar life experiences and struggles as gay men and women.”

    The captain of Spikes Academy team, Shiqi Yang, played soccer as a youth in China, but soon found interest in other activities. Now an American, Shiqi circled back to soccer and this time fell in love with the sport he once knew. Shiqi described his first day with the Spikes Academy as “intimidating” because he hadn’t kicked a ball in years, but the guys welcomed him and invited him out for drinks; that helped to close the deal. He happpilpily ssays, “It’s amazing that I am playing gay soccer America!”