TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Athletic team announced they are changing the opening song at all home matches to ensure an inclusive environment for athletes, supporters and the community.
Tulsa Athletic is a part of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and an American soccer team in Tulsa. Tulsa Athletic plays in the NPSL's Heartland Conference and plays all home matches at Veterans Park in Tulsa.
Sonny Dalesandro, the co-owner of Tulsa Athletic, along with the team and community discussed changing the opening song to create an inclusive community through the game of soccer.
"'The Star-Spangled Banner' lyrics and meaning, more specifically the third verse, 'No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…' does not align with the values of the teams", said Tulsa Athletic officials.
Tulsa Athletic will instead play 'This Land is Your Land,' by Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie at all home matches.
From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic. We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voice. We utilize this right as a club to continually try and improve our team and community. We believe ‘This Land Is Your Land’ not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way. The song speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for.
Tulsa Athletic said they are excited to kick-off this new tradition.
Tulsa Athletics streamed the full announcement on their Facebook page. WATCH below:
For more information on Tulsa Athletic, click here.
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