Colin Clark, the midfielder for Houston Dynamo, has apologised for using a homophobic slur against a ball boy, who refused to throw the ball back to him during Friday’s game with the Seattle Sounders.

Clark was heard making a highly offensive and derogatory comment to the boy, footage of which was broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, and promptly uploaded to the video-sharing website YouTube. The outburst was triggered apparently because the youngster chose to roll the ball to the footballer’s feet than pitch it to his hands when it went out of play for a Houston throw.

After the match, Clark tweeted: “I’d like to offer a sincere apology to everyone who watched the game, especially the ball boy for whom I used awful language towards. I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone and am sorry for letting my emotions get the best of me. It’s not who I am, and it won’t happen again.”

The midfielder also responded to a group promoting gay rights in soccer, where he reiterated his apology, and added: “I would love for you to consider me a #soccerally moving forward.”

A survey by ESPN Magazine in 2009 found that almost half of US football players knew at least one gay teammate.