Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena, the most successful coach in U.S. Soccer history, will be honored Thursday by the Courage Campaign Institute for his work in paving the way for LGBT athletes in professional sports.
The fifth annual awards ceremony recognizes individuals “who exemplify courage in the fight for a more fair and just society,” according to the institute.
Arena, a Hall of Famer who has won five Major League Soccer titles and led the U.S. national team to two World Cups, will receive the institute’s Spirit of Courage Award in a private ceremony at the historic Los Angeles Union Station. Arena is being recognized for welcoming Robbie Rogers to the Galaxy in 2013, making him the first openly gay athlete to compete in a major U.S. professional sports league.
Rogers, who had retired from soccer before coming out publicly in an emotional blog post, was lured back by Arena and helped the Galaxy win a record fifth MLS title under Arena’s tutelage a year later.
Rogers will present Arena with his award.
Molly Munger and Steve English, co-founding directors of the Advancement Project, will also be honored Thursday. The community activists and civil rights attorneys have fought for voting rights, public school funding and against racial discrimination during their distinguished careers.