In 1980, an ad was placed in the Village Voice looking for gay men interested in playing soccer in an area of Central Park known as the Ramble. The few who showed up were unaware they were about to make history. This was the birth of the New York Ramblers, the world’s first organized openly-gay soccer club. The Ramblers provided a safe space for gay men, who enjoyed the sport, to meet and socialize outside of the traditional settings of bars and clubs.
Not long after the Ramblers’ founding, gay soccer clubs began forming around the country. This growing network of clubs established the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) which brings together member organizations in competitive play. Since its creation in 1992, the IGLFA has had over 80 teams from more than 20 countries join its ranks.
Now entering our fourth decade, the Ramblers have traveled the country and the globe participating in various soccer tournaments, from the Philadelphia Pumpkin Patch and Provincetown Classic to the Gay Games, Outgames and IGLFA World Championship. And every spring, we proudly host our own tournament the New York Indoor Classic, drawing teams from all over North America and beyond. In addition to weekly practices and participation in leagues around the New York metropolitan area, we regularly organize social events from bowling to house parties to the occasional karaoke outing, as well as yearly traditions like the Annual Awards Dinner, and Winter Holiday Party.
The principal agenda of the Ramblers remains unchanged from the club’s inception: to provide a comfortable and fun atmosphere for all people to enjoy the competition and camaraderie of soccer, regardless of skill level, sexual orientation, gender, race or religion; to break down stereotypes about gay people in sports; and to forge new friendships as part of an ongoing Ramblers family.
The New York Ramblers Soccer Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.
Thank you for your support. We’ll see you on the pitch!