Professional football player Collin Martin comes out as gay during pride month
A professional football player has announced he’s gay, prior to a pride night being held by his football team.
Collin Martin, who plays for Minnesota United in the MLS, is now the only out gay football player in a top professional soccer league.
Martin wrote a statement on his Twitter account and said: “June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man.”
The 23-year-old said his friends, family and teammates were already aware of his sexuality. “I have played Major League Soccer for 6 seasons: 4 seasons with DC United and 2 seasons with Minnesota United. Today I’m proud that the entire team and management of Minnesota United know that I’m gay.”
“As we celebrate Pride night I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am. In light of who I am I want to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly,” Martin added.
Minnesota United is an American professional soccer team based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area in the United States.
The team shared images of support for Martin on its Twitter account, using the hashtag #SoccerForAll.
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) June 29, 2018
Martin follows in the footsteps of Robbie Rogers, who came out in 2013 after being released by Leeds United. Rogers went on to become the first openly gay professional footballer when he signed for LA Galaxy. Rogers retired in 2017 after winning two MLS cups and 18 caps for the US men’s national team.
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Tonight my team, @MNUFC , is having their Pride night. It's an important night for me — I'll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. #soccerforall pic.twitter.com/cOJQXfrBiv
— Collin Martin (@martcw12) June 29, 2018
Martin’s statement comes as attention is on the World Cup. The competition, which is being held in Russia, has been criticised for being held in an anti-LGBT country.
The head of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, Aleksandr Agapov said authorities have been relaxed in applying the country’s “gay propaganda” laws during the tournament, according to the Press Association.
Football fans, including England spectators, have been able to bring pride rainbow flags into stadiums so far – which was promised before the tournament by Fifa and the Russian football association