"So I’m asking you: Jump on the train. Some people are always going to hate. Some people are always going to criticize you. But don’t be scared. Don’t be silent. We will stand with you. We just want to know that you stand with us."

– Kevin Prince Boateng

Allyship & Collective Action

In this module, we focus on how allyship is like being a good teammate. It means we show up and speak up for others – in overt situations of prejudice and in everyday interactions. You will reflect on how allyship is present in your life right now, and how we can all better understand and support the needs of others. Finally, you will practice taking action to grow your team of allies.

Picture an injury on the field. What happens? The trainer or the coach runs out at top speed.  The game stops, the players wait. The needs of the injured player take precedence over the game. If the player needs help off of the field, they can count on their teammates to physically assist them. Once they have been taken care of, the game can resume. Allyship is a lot like listening to the injured player. We didn’t have the experience of the collision or the fall. We trust the player to tell us where it hurts, what happened, and what it felt like.  Based on their word, the initial treatment plan is formed.

To practice anti-racist coaching, it takes this same amount of listening, and a willingness to engage in issues of unfairness and injustice. We must strengthen our allyship and create avenues for our teams to take collective action against individual, interpersonal, and systemic racism.



Key Coaching Points


Allyship, like being a good teammate, means we show up and speak up for others


Genuine allyship requires that we see, hear and support the needs of others


We must reach out to others to grow our team of allies because it takes all of us to make lasting change

Coach Training: Key Resource

Anatomy of an Ally from Learning for Justice aims to support educators to navigate the complexities of allyship in and out of the classroom, supporting individuals to learn about what it takes to become an effective ally, and to examine their own intentions, commitment, and identities as a part of that process.

The Toolkit for Anatomy of an Ally addresses the complex and challenging work of being an ally and presents a framework for helping social justice educators think about their own ally identity development. It names three different models for being an ally – Self-Interest, Altruism, and Social Justice – supporting individuals on their journey to becoming an ally for social justice.


Toolkit for for "Anatomy of an Ally"
Allyship checklist


Stories from the Field

Allyship & Collective Action 

In this challenge, players will draw on real-life examples from the soccer world to engage in meaningful discussion about the way allyship and collective action can create powerful change in our communities



Allyship Opening Circle

In this activity, participants will self-reflect on what it means to be an ally and then share with the group



Over the River

This challenge takes a classic soccer activity and focuses on the experience of the outnumbered defenders to spark a conversation on how to be an ally



Pass Like an Ally

This challenge will push players to practice good communication given different parameters during a passing drill



Reimagine Game Day

In this activity, players will work together to create a plan for game day to practice allyship throughout game day



Empathy With the Referee

In this challenge, players will learn to see a soccer game as a collective movement, and grapple with the notion that genuine allyship requires a powerful combination of empathy and action


Stories from the Field

A Call to Action

To My White Brothers and Sisters by Kevin Prince Boateng

  1. Why was it so important to Boateng that his teammates walked off the field with him after he experienced racist abuse from fans?
  2. What does Boateng think of the actions of big organizations like FIFA? What responsibility does FIFA have in this situation?



No Perfect Way to Protest

Why I Am Kneeling by Megan Rapinoe

  1. What does allyship mean to Megan Rapinoe?
  2. What do you think Rapinoe means when she writes “I look like your sister, your friend, your neighbor or the girl your kids go to school with. I am the person sitting at your dinner table and coming to your holiday party.”?

View from Afar

Lilian Thuram sees MLS’s Black Players for Change as a template

  1. Why did the Black Players for Change collective inspire French soccer star Lilliam Thuram?
  2. What do you learn from the comparison Thuram makes between racism in France and the United States?