AUSTIN, Texas — From the pitch to the podium, from center net to center stage, Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver hosted a conversation about community during a South by Southwest panel on Monday.
The panel centered on how to make communities better by using the platform of sports.
"The little actions that we can take every day to make sure that change happens," Stuver said about his approach.
It was a talk titled "Athlete Activism: Using Sport for Social Good."
Stuver said it's a recent trend in professional sports that's here to stay.
"I think it's a necessity now," he said. "There are just so many issues right now that need attention. My issues are The Laundry Project. I advocate for the LGBTQI+ community. I know [my wife] Ashley is with women's rights, voting rights."
It's a position that sometimes leads to conflict.
"In Texas, coming out in favor of LGBTQ issues, being pro-trans kids in sports, you get called a child abuser," Stuver said, but added that ignoring it would make him complicit. "It can't just be the minority group doing the work."
So when Stuver isn't manning the net, he's manning the mic.
"Sport has always had such a large influence on social structure," he said.
After all, athletics are temporary, while allyship is forever.
"I want to carry the gauntlet from those who came before me and I want to make it better for those who come after me," Stuver said.
Stuver will host four separate Laundry Project events on March 27, which will cover the cost of doing laundry for low-income families.
Stuver and Austin FC return to the pitch Sunday against the Seattle Sounders.