Australian footballer widely praised after coming out as gay: ‘I know there are others living in silence’

<p>Australia Soccer Cavallo Coming Out</p>

Australia Soccer Cavallo Coming Out

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An Australian professional footballer has publicly said he is gay, adding he wanted to show “everyone is welcome in the game of football”.

Josh Cavallo, 21, currently plays as left-back for A-League Men’s side Adelaide United and has one cap for the national under-20s side.

In a post on social media, he said it was “astonishing to know there are no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing” and that he wanted to show “others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community”.

His post has already been praised by players in the Australian women’s national side, with Chelsea’s Sam Kerr tweeting “Good for you” and Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord adding: “Respect the strength to speak out and own who you are”. Many other figures associated with the sport in Australia echoed these sentiments.

In his post, Cavallo said: “Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feeling in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer.

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“Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before.

“In football, you only have a small window to achieve greatness, and coming out publicly may have a negative impact on a career.

“As a gay footballer, I know there are other players living in silence.

“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.”

Numerous rival clubs in Australia also sung Cavallo’s praises and his bravery.

The 21-year-old’s announcement comes just a few weeks before the A-League season is due to resume in November.

Cavallo is just one of a small handful of male footballers to have announced that they are gay while still playing the game. Andy Brennan of the Newcastle Jets came out in 2019, making him the first player in Australia to announce that he was gay.

The American Robbie Rogers, who once played for Leeds United, came out in 2013 when he was forced into early retirement at just 25. In 2014, the German star Thomas Hitzlsperger, who played for a number of English clubs, also came out after he had retired from the game.

Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer to come out as gay in the early 1990s. In 2020 Fashanu was posthumously inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame.

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