Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, making him the only currently male top-flight professional footballer in the world to come out.
“I am proud to publicly announce that I am gay,” Cavallo wrote.
“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. Adelaide United has made me realise football is more than just a game – it is a family.
“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.
“For the people that know me personally, you’ll know I’m a private person. 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.”
Former Premier League midfielder Thomas Hitzlsberger waited until a year after he retired before announcing he was gay. Similarly, former Leeds midfielder Robbie Rogers announced he was gay when he retired in 2013 before then returning to play for LA Galaxy and won the MLS Cup.
There are very few gay professional footballers active today. One of those is midfielder Collin Martin, who play in the second tier of US football for San Diego Loyal.
Cavallo says he knows there are other players who are “living in silence” and hopes his public announcement can “show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community”.
He added: “I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football, and deserves the right to be their authentic self.
“It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia but around the world. Hopefully, this will change in the near future.
“I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community.
“As the game of football keeps expanding, I want to help evolve the game even further, and let other players in my situation feel that they’re not alone.”