Australian soccer star Josh Cavallo has come out on social media to tell the world he is gay, making him the first active professional player in the sport to publicly disclose his sexuality, NBC Sports reported.
Cavallo, a midfielder for Adelaide United, was seen in a video posted on Wednesday to his club’s social media accounts.
“Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself, you know, because I was ashamed,” Cavallo said. “Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay.”
“All I want to do is to play football and be treated equally,”He went on. “I’m tired trying to perform at the best of your ability and live this double life. It’s exhausting. It’s something I don’t want anyone to experience.”
The video shows the 21-year old stating that he has been struggling with his sexuality for six-years. “glad”He can “put that to rest.”
“Being a closeted gay footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mold of a professional footballer. …Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before,”He added.
Carl Veart, Adelaide United’s coach, stated in a statement that the player had “shown incredible courage to be one of very few professional sportsmen to be this brave. I have nothing but admiration and support for him, as do all the players and coaching staff.”
Following Cavallo’s disclosure, F.C. Girard Pique, a Spanish soccer legend and Barcelona’s Barcelona footballer, came out to support Cavallo on Twitter.
“Hey @JoshuaCavallo, I don’t have the pleasure to know you personally but I want to thank you for this step that you take. The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward,” Pique wrote.
Cavallo did call out the lack of LGBTQIA+ players in professional men’s soccer, saying, “currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world.”
He hopes to create dialogue and encourage change by coming out. The Independent reported.