The Come Together Cup is a unique soccer tournament held annually in Cologne, Germany. It all started when an openly gay police commissioner and soccer athlete, Andreas Stein, came to Cologne. Searching for a team to play with, the athlete felt he was the only gay footballer around; that is until he found the Cream Team Cologne. The Cream Team Cologne is an LGBTQI football team that is part of SC Janus, the LGBTQI sports club in Cologne, Germany. After joining the team, Stein helped to set up a match between Cream Team Cologne and the local police soccer team in 1994 which laid the foundation for the Come Together Cup.
The Come Together Cup is a celebration of the inclusion of LGBTQI sports and athletes within mainstream sports and serves as a fun and friendly event to “bring together all the cosmopolitan people, as well as social sectors and classes, on a single tournament day on the football field.“
Serving as a sort of mini-Pride festival, the Come Together Cup includes a full day soccer tournament as well as LGBTQI organizations and allies setting up booths to support and promote the diversity and inclusion of the community. The event is hosted on the grounds of the RheinEnergie Stadion which is home to the Bundesliga team FC Köln at the back door of the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln. Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Teams with several thousand visitors and players took part in the full day tournament that included a music festival, beer garden, and celebrity fun games. The event kicked off with a 10km run hosted by Cologne Frontrunners concluded with a moment of silence for HIV/AIDS victims followed by live music program and closing ceremony.
The 25th Come Together Cup was hosted on May 30th, two days after German Diversity Day. In celebration of the 7th German Diversity Day, the RheinEnergie Stadion was lit up in rainbow colors to help set a standard for diversity, tolerance and equal opportunity. The stadium was lit up for two nights in the lead up to the Come Together Cup to celebrate diversity.
For 25 Years the Come Together Cup has promoted the diversity and inclusion of LGBTQI people in sports and invites local LGBTQI clubs and organizations to take part, including Aidshilfe Cologne, Dyke March, Deutsche Sporthochschule Gay Straight Alliance, SC Janus, and others to take part. Find more information at https://www.come-together-cup.de/
By Dirk Smith