Why this player joined LGBTQI+ soccer club Brisbane Inferno

LGBTQIA+ soccer team Brisbane Inferno are groupe dtogether in their orange kits including player Dean Maybury

Brisbane Inferno is the city’s LGBTQI+ soccer club which welcomes anyone to join.

We spoke to one of their players Dean Maybury (second from left bottom row) to understand why it’s important for him to feel comfortable playing a sport he loves. 

Playing the game

Hi Dean, first off, when did you start playing football/soccer? 

I started playing football when I was 7 years old with my local junior soccer club. In my late teens and early 20s I started coaching a group of junior players for four years which was very enjoyable and fulfilling.

I was fortunate to be awarded the club’s Clubman Award one year for services to the club which was one of my proudest achievements with a sporting club. 

After leaving school and starting work I stopped playing and coaching. It was too difficult to juggle shift work and club commitments but also due to an injury. I didn’t play again until 2015 when I joined the Sydney Rangers who I was with until 2021

Another element in stopping playing for so long is at the time I was coming to terms with my sexuality.

I was in my late teens, early 20s. Where I grew up (Hunter Valley, NSW) there were no LGBTQIA+ sporting groups. Homophobia was still widespread, albeit getting better, so I didn’t feel there was a “safe place” for me to be me whilst playing football. 

What brought you back to soccer?

Simply put, I missed playing. There’s definitely the fitness aspect to playing. I’ve lost count of all the gyms I’ve joined and money they’ve taken.

The gym bores me whereas with football I run around, fall over, kick the ball, and I get social interaction and camaraderie that comes with playing team sports.

There’s a sense of pride that comes with team sport as well. 

Joining an LGBTQIA+ team

You decided to join Sydney Rangers – tell us about your time there.

I started with the Rangers socially initially in late 2014 I had been living in Sydney for about a year after having moved back to Oz from the UK.

I simply googled “gay soccer Sydney” or “gay football Sydney” and up popped the Rangers. I contacted the club via email and went along to their weekend social matches.

It helped build/rebuild my skills as well as fitness in preparation for trials and grading that the Rangers held in early 2015.

One of the other reasons I joined was the social aspect. I was still relatively new to living in Sydney, didn’t have many friends in Sydney, let alone gay friends, so I saw it as an opportunity meet people.

There was the “safe place” aspect to it as well. Realising that there actually a lot of LGBTQIA+ people that enjoy and play sports and I wasn’t so alone.

Dean Mabury in a rangers kit althought he players for LGBTQI+ soccer club Brisbane Inferno

Brisbane Inferno

You moved to Brisbane and joined Inferno, how welcomed did you feel?

Very welcome. I already had a connection with the club because the club secretary, Michael Healy, was a former ranger and teammate. 

The timing was good too because the Inferno were able to launch their first competitive team in the Metro league that year (2022).

Not to disparage the Rangers or my time with them but I have found the Inferno to be more relaxed and easy-going.

They’ve also been more welcoming as well. Perhaps the size of the clubs plays a part in that, and that’s not to say that I wasn’t “welcomed” by the Rangers, I’m just comparing experiences. The Rangers are great. Don’t block me! 

What has been your involvement in the club?

I play socially and, up until this year, played competitively in the Metro team. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure enough players to field a Metro team in 2024 and it’s left a bit of a gap in my life. Playing football each weekend has been a constant for almost 10 years for me.

I have occasionally run training sessions to fill in in the absence of the coach and I often support the coach during training sessions. Some committee members will sometimes ask for my opinion on some club matters which I feel honoured about. I think that’s a real positive with the Inferno, their willingness to seek out the thoughts and opinions of its members to the benefit of the club.

Why join?

 What are the best things about being a part of Brisbane Inferno?

Winning our first match as a club and team. It may have been the second season, but it was such a proud achievement for the team and I’m proud to have been a part of that success.

The club is quite social and very supportive of its emerging and new members/players, no matter their skill level. Having a regular social match is a real positive for the club in my mind.

For people considering joining the club it affords them the opportunity to dip their toes into Inferno life whilst also giving them the chance to get in some practice in a safe and welcoming space, especially for LGBTQIA+ people. 

For someone thinking of joining, what would you say to them?

Come along to a few social matches on the weekends. You get three trial visits before you have to join as a paid member.

Contact the club committee via the club website or social media to express your interest. This is just a start and the club isn’t just for LGBTQIA+ people either.

We have allies in the club and we’ve had them in the Metro team. They’re just as welcome as anyone else. Hell, bring a mate or two.

Find out more about Brisbane Inferno at brisbaneinfernofc.com.au

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Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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