The Out Philadelphia Athletic League is Created

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

The Out Philadelphia Athletic League is Created

With the newest fad to hit Philadelphia, many of this city’s LGBT community have taken up intramural sports.  From events like flag football to the recently developed Stonewall Kickball league, these sports leagues have become a turning point for how the Philadelphia community is staying fit, making friendships, and most importantly, having fun.  With the development of so many athletic organizations, I had the privilege of sitting down with Jeffrey Sotlandto discuss the newly developed Out Philadelphia Athletic League or, OPAL. 

PGC: For those that don’t know, explain briefly what OPAL is and what your role is specifically within the group.

OPAL (Out Philadelphia Athletic League) came from a concept to create an organization that serves the LGBT sports leagues in Philadelphia.  It also creates a social experience for the LGBT sports community.  This is the first time such an organization has been created and, as a program of the William Way, it plans to serve thousands of individuals yearly.

PGC: What types of sports teams are participating under OPAL?

  • Softball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Womens Running
  • Climbing
  • Kickball
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Rugby

PGC: How does OPAL help the LGBT sports teams that participate in the Philadelphia area?

Besides providing a venue for all the leagues to work together, coordinate activities, and learn from each other, OPAL also provides leagues with opportunities for fundraising, marketing, and enrolling of members. 

We also work with the leagues to assist them with fiscal operations, governance, and communications, but we are not involved in the oversight of any league.

Lastly, we spend time working with the leagues to assist with facilities.  We recently spent 2 months advocating for the Flag Football League to secure their fields for Gay Bowl on Outfest weekend.

PGC: Who do these teams play against? Is it a local Philadelphia thing or do you get to travel to other cities and compete with other teams representing their cities?

Each league has its own structure and there are games against teams from within the city and other leagues across the country.

We hope that future intramural programs will provide the community with better relationship building amongst the leagues, and assist with the cross pollination of players.

PGC: If someone wants to join a specific team, should they go through OPAL? What if they want to work specifically with OPAL?

Everyone is welcome to work with OPAL.  Once we have our website up and running (3 months) we will be able to have one stop shopping for sports leagues, teams and individuals to join.  We also invite anyone who wants to work directly with OPAL to reach out as well.

PGC: What do you have coming up in the near future that we can get excited about?

  • OPAL is working with The Kimmel Center for the It Gets Better event in the second week in November
  • OPAL is hosting Our Night Out in November at the Ritz Carlton on November 19
  • OPAL is hosting its own get together at FDR Park on October 26 for everyone to come out and share some time with each other from all across the sports spectrum. 

PGC: Where can I get more information?

We are in process of building the website.  It is


As the Philadelphia LGBT community continues to grow, OPAL will become a central hub for anyone interested in taking up an extracurricular activity.  As someone who’s participated in these intramural sports, I encourage anyone looking for a resource to get out, stay active and have fun, stay tuned for what the Out Philadelphia Athletic League has to offer.


PHOTO: Rich Walker

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