Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has become the only openly gay top league footballer in the world.
The Adelaide United player made the announcement in a series of Twitter posts and a video released by his club.
Addressing the fans, the 21-year-old, who plays in Australia’s A-league, said he was ‘proud to be gay’.
He said: “I am proud to publicly announce that I am gay.
“It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out.
“I have been fighting my sexuality for over six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”
He then spoke about the journey that brought him to come out, adding: “Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed.
“Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay.
“Hiding who I truly am, to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid, to play football and be treated equally never felt like a reality.
“Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer.
“Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before. I’ve lived my life assuming that this was a topic never to be spoken about.
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He then continued by saying he hopes this will inspire other footballers to follow suit, saying: “In football, you have a small window to achieve greatness and coming out publicly may have a negative impact on a career.
“As a gay footballer, I know there are other players living in silence. I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game and deserves the right to be their authentic self.”
Cavallo has been flooded with supportive messages on Twitter, with one user commenting: “Good for him, and it shows great progress that, while we’ve had retired players or those at the back end of their careers coming out, here’s a top-flight player who could be playing for the next 15 years.”
Another added: “Great courage good on him, let’s hope others feel they can do the same and be themselves without fear or hatred.”
The Australian FA praised the footballer in a statement, writing: “Football Australia wishes to commend Josh’s bravery to come out as the only openly gay player in the A-League men competition.
“His courage to be open with himself and share that part with others is inspiring and will hopefully inspire more footballers to do the same in the future.”
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