There is a misconception that the male sports world is full of macho men with high testosterone and heterosexuals.
And, it is common in the Soccer world too.
Three decades have passed since Justin Fashanu first came out as a gay Soccer player. After that, only a few gay Soccer players have stepped in to come out publicly.
Though coming out is not a big issue in women’s soccer, it is totally the opposite in men’s Soccer.
Homophobia is widespread in men’s soccer on and off the pitch. That’s why very rare male soccer players come out publicly.
Without further ado, let’s learn about the eight gay players who were bold enough to come out in soccer history.
|Rank||Gay Soccer Players||Country|
Gay Players in Soccer You Need to Know About
8. Andy Brennan
Andy Brennan is a 28 years old midfielder from Hume City. As the league member, Brennan competes on the National Premier Leagues Victoria.
In May 2019, Brennan came out as gay openly through his Instagram account.
As a teenager, Brennan had a bad experience of getting remarked as “That’s so gay” for his behavior. It gave him the connotation that being gay was a negative thing.
Thus, he was scared to come out publicly and had irrational thoughts about how the public and his team circle will react.
But, when one moment Brennan imagined his life ten years ahead and making a family still by living with a lie, he couldn’t hold back anymore.
He wanted to live freely as his true self. So, he decided to come out openly and give it a try even if the public, his friends, teammates, and leagues may not accept him.
After coming out as the first Australian gay soccer player, Brennan has received overwhelmingly positive responses and support from everyone. Since then, he has embraced the opportunity to be the role model in professional sport that he never had.
Moreover, Andy shared his story in FIFPRO with the hope that his positive experiences will somehow encourage the gay athletes who are still in fear of homophobic abuse and losing their careers like he was before.
Further, Andy exclaims that education and raising awareness can only change the perception and behaviors towards LGBTQ people in a positive manner.
7. Collin Martin
Collin Martin is a midfielder of the San Diego Loyal FC.
From the 2013 to 2016 season, Martins played for the D.C. United. Many of the DC teammates knew about his sexuality and were comfortable about it. But, when he was thinking about coming out, he got traded to Minnesota.
Martins played for Minnesota United FC from 2017 to 2019. At the preseason in Minnesota, Martins opened up to some of his teammates.
At the end of the first season, everybody in Minnesota knew that he was gay. He got full support from his team and management.
Moreover, his family and friends also have fully supported him throughout the journey.
Martins came out as gay in June 2018 on an interview with the Pride Month.
Besides, Martins is the only out active gay athlete in the big five American Sports.
6. Thomas Hitzlsperger
Thomas Hitzlsperger played as a midfielder from 2001 to 2013. During that time, he played for national and international clubs like VfB Stuttgart, Aston Villa, Lazio, and Wolfsburg.
Besides, Hitzlsperger represented Germany 52 times and won the 2007 Bundesliga with Stuttgart. Similarly, he competed for the Premier League from 2012 to 2013 with Everton.
In September 2013, Hitzlsperger retired from his soccer career due to a series of injuries.
Since 2019, Hitzlsperger has been serving as the CEO of one of the biggest clubs in Germany, VfB Stuttgart.
During his career, Hitzlsperger was in an 8-year relationship with a woman. But, he broke up with her in 2007.
And, after three years, he realized he wanted to live with a man. It was a hard and long journey for him to realize and admit that he was gay.
First, he opened up to his family and friends, and they supported him.
On 8th January 2014, Hitzlsperger came out as gay on an interview with the German paper, Die Zeit. He is the first Premier League soccer player to do so.
After that, he received huge support from his fans and fellow soccer players. Some high-profile politicians and soccer team managers like David Cameron Joachim Löw also well-wished him.
5. Robbie Rogers
Robbie Rogers played as a middle fielder and defender in Major League Soccer (MLS) from 2005 to 2017. During that time, he played for American and English clubs like Columbus Crew and Leeds United.
Besides, Rogers won the 2008 MLS Cup title and won 18 senior caps in the 2008 Olympics for the US.
When Rogers was about 14 years old, he knew he was gay. But, he had to hide it if he wanted to live his dream as a soccer player.
When Rogers made it to the big leagues, he was constantly living in fear. So, he hung out with guys and dated girls.
Coming out was always scary for him as he heard the gay slurs in locker rooms and everywhere. But during his last game with Leeds United in 2013, Rogers built up the courage.
Rogers first came out to his conservative Catholic family via emails while he was living in England.
Later, he got the strength to come out as gay to the entire world.
Robbie Rogers came out as a gay athlete in February 2013 through his Instagram post.
Then, he retired from soccer after the announcement. But, after the encouragement from the former LA Galaxy FC coach, Bruce Arena, he played with the Galaxy in May 2013.
Rogers is the first gay athlete to compete in major league sports history.
After coming out, Rogers got full support from his family, fans, fellow players, and management teams.
4. David Testo
Testo played in MLS from 2003 to 2011. During that time, he played with clubs like Columbus Crew, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Montreal Impact.
Besides, Testo won the Canadian Championships in 2007 and 2008 with Impact FC.
On 10th November 2011, Testo announced that he was gay in an interview with Radio Canada. He is the first American soccer player to come out as a gay.
Similarly, Testo’s family, friends, teammates, and management were all aware from the start and supportive of him.
Moreover, Testo is an advisory board member of the campaign devoted to fighting homophobia in sports, You Can Play.
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3. Anton Hysen
Anton Hysen is a Swedish soccer player.
Hysen played as the defender of Swedish leagues like Utsiktens BK and Myrtle Beach FC. In 2015, he played for the Division 2 league, Torslanda IK.
Hysen comes from a renowned soccer family. His father, Glenn Hysen, is one of the biggest players in Swedish history who played as the center-back for Liverpool, winning them the 1989-90 season.
Whereas his brothers, Tobias and Alexander, are renowned former Swedish soccer players.
In March 2011, Hysen came out openly as gay in the Swedish soccer magazine, Offside. He is the first openly gay soccer player in Swedish history.
Besides, Hysen’s family, friends, teammates, and management have been very supportive throughout the coming-out journey.
2. Oliver Rouyer
Oliver Rouyer is a former soccer striker from France.
He played from 1973 to 1990 with the clubs like AS Nancy and Lyon.
Throughout his career, Ruyer won 17 international caps, scored two goals for the national teams, and competed in the 1978 FIFA World Cup with AS Nancy.
Besides, Rouyer served as the coach for Nancy from 1991 to 1994 and FC Silon in 1999.
After retiring, Royer came out as gay.
1. Justin Fashanu
Justin Fashanu was a soccer player from England. He played from 1978 to 1997.
At the age of 17, Fashanu debuted with Norwich City FC. During his two seasons in Norwich, Fashanu scored 40 goals in 103 appearances, including the wonder strike against Liverpool.
For which he won a BBC Goal of the Season award in 1980.
In 1981, Fashanu signed a £1 million contract with Nottingham Forest FC. It made him the first black soccer player to command that much fee.
During his career in Forest, Fashanu frequently visited gay bars, which made inside rumors around his sexuality.
His manager Brian Clough then verbally abused Fashanu, saying, “A bloody poof!”. Besides, Clough even banned him from training.
Due to his degrading relationship with Clough and failure to meet his playing demands and lifestyle, Fashanu’s confidence and goals dried up. He only scored three goals in 32 appearances for Forest in the 1981-1982 season.
In 1990, Fashanu came out as the first male gay soccer player on the newspaper, The Sun. He became the first renowned British soccer player to do so.
Fashanu wrote in his 1994 book “Stonewall 25” that he was deeply moved by the story of a 17-year-old boy who committed suicide after being thrown out by his parents because of his homophobia.
So, he wanted to set an example and create awareness about LGBTQ by coming out in the papers.
But, his step terribly backfired at him. All of the black community cursed him for bringing shame on their names.
Even his brother, Josh Fashanu, who was at the peak of his soccer career during that time, gave him £75,000 to keep his mouth shut due to fear of losing his career and name.
In 1998, Fashanu committed suicide at the age of 37.
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