charlton invicta

Rainbow Laces Celebrates 10 Years

We chat to Charlton Invicta FC, an LGBTQ+ inclusive football club affiliated to Kent FA.

The Rainbow Laces Campaign celebrates 10 years; we took some time to catch up with Charlton Invicta FC, an LGBTQ+ inclusive football club affiliated to Kent FA.

Charlton Invicta FC ("Invicta") was founded in January 2011 and, in 2017, became the first LGBTQ+ football club to be formally affiliated to a professional club trust – the Charlton Athletic Community Trust.

Invicta exists to provide structured football opportunities to LGBTQ+ people in a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment that allows people to enjoy playing football and be their authentic selves at all times. Invicta is a core part of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust Equality Diversity and Inclusion strategy. It uses its platform to educate about LGBTQ+ inclusion and to combat LGBTQ+ discrimination in football and wider sports.

Invicta is a football club that is open to all and has a real mix of players from the LGBTQ+ community and allies. The Club prides itself on its slogan of being 'everyone inclusive'.

Invicta plays their home games on the Astro Pitches at the Charlton Athletic Training Ground and trains weekly on Tuesday nights. Sessions are run by their own coaching team, which is made up of volunteers. They run two teams in the LGBTQ+ inclusive London Unity League, playing games on a Sunday afternoon against other LGBTQ+ inclusive teams. They also have a team in the Gay Football Supporters Network National League Division 1 and cup playing on Saturdays.

rainbow laces

Lee Holland, who joined Charlton Invicta FC in January 2022, recently became player-manager for one of the Club's teams. "Managing the Charlton Valiants team this season is something I never considered doing. I began the season focused on playing and scoring the goals to help the team secure the London Unity League title. Last season, we narrowly missed out on the title after losing to Millwall Romans FC on goal difference, so our aim was to go one better this year.

"However, when the opportunity to manage the Valiants team came up - I couldn't resist. I've begun with two wins out of two, and I'm really enjoying the challenge. The last month managing the team has been unbelievable, and the vibe has been unreal. The effort from the players and the support they have given me has been fantastic. Last weekend we secured a 1-0 away win against last season's LUL Champions, Millwall Romans.

"As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I don't just support rainbow laces today or during the active campaign period. I've worn rainbow laces in my boots for training and matches every game for over a year. I support the campaign with pride every day. I'm proud to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, to have LGBTQ+ friends and teammates at the Club, and to show my support through the visibility of my rainbow laces.

"Charlton Invicta has and will always be a home for me. The Club accepted me as my authentic self and welcomed me in, allowing me to play football in a fun and friendly place. The chemistry at the Club is amazing; the team is one massive family, and everyone has each other's backs. 

"For anyone wanting to join an LGBTQ+ inclusive football team, I say to you .... DO IT !! Be you and get involved, I promise you, you won't regret it."

To find out more about Charlton Invicta FC or to register your interest in one of their training sessions – please email or follow them on social Twitter on @CharltonInvicta and Instagram on @cactinvictafc