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    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Real Athlete: Soccer coach Michael Moore

By RealJock Staff

Real Athlete is an ongoing series of interviews with inspirational, out gay athletes from around the world. Are you a Real Athlete? Take our Real Athlete Survey.

Michael Moore co-founded Dallas's Oak Lawn Soccer Club 11 years ago, and even though he moved to Houston five years ago, he still plays with the team. An ACL injury has sidelined Moore from play for the time being, so when we spoke to him at Gay Games Chicago he was there as the Oak Lawn coach. RealJock talked to Moore after his team had finished play for the week, coming in fourth in Men's Division 2 soccer.

Is Oak Lawn one of the longest running soccer clubs at the Games?
Yes, of the clubs that currently play in these tournaments, we are [among the oldest]. Some have come and gone, but we've been around for some time.

What position do you typically play?
I normally play right halfback. I didn't play in this tournament because of a torn ACL, and I just had surgery. So that's how I ended up being kind of the sideline coach for the tournament.

How did Oak Lawn do in the Gay Games tournament?
Well, we didn't do as well as we would have liked to. We ended up in the bronze-medal game today, and we lost to Toronto. So out of 14 teams in our division, we ended up in fourth.

Have you and the team been having fun at the Games? What kind of things have you gotten to do while you're here besides soccer?
We have had fun. There are a few groups [from our team] that end up socializing. About half of the team goes out and does a lot of the nighttime partying, and a lot of us are doing sightseeing and that sort of thing.

What is the team's year-round schedule for practice and play?
Back in Dallas, it kind of comes and goes. We have a men's team that plays in a local men's league, and a co-ed team that plays in a local co-ed league, and those two teams are pretty stable. The club will have a women's team that does well for a couple of years, but then kind of falls apart due to lack of interest. There are a lot of women in the [Oak Lawn] club, but a lot of them play in other women's leagues. The gay and lesbian issue isn't as big a deal for them.

In Dallas the men's and women's leagues play in the fall and spring, and the co-ed league plays year-round. We're pretty active year-round [in Dallas]. We play in some local tournaments, and then we come to these tournaments as well, like the Gay Games or the gay and lesbian world cup on an annual basis. The world cup has been going since 1991, and Dallas hosted that tournament back in 1992.

Did the team attend any previous Games?
In Amsterdam we ended up with the silver medal in the second division. We didn't go to Sydney. A few players from the club went to Sydney and played on different teams, but Oak Lawn didn't get enough people together to field a full team there.

What do you find inspirational about the Gay Games?
It's really neat to see how the cities that host the Games have just opened up, and a lot of the locals seem interested in what's going on. [I saw that in both] Amsterdam and Chicago. I get a lot out of that because we're out there showing who we are, and we're proud of who we are and our sports, and we present a positive image to a lot of people who may not even think they know gay people.

As far as the soccer goes, there's really a pretty close community of teams and players. And we get to see other and play each other every couple of years, and it's amazing to see how much that's grown over the years.