UK footballer Jake Daniels gets outpouring of support after coming out as gay

UK footballer Jake Daniels gets outpouring of support after coming out as gay
Tom Daley feels extra pressure as a gay dad

Jake Daniels, 17, just became the UK's first male footballer to publicly come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990 - and he has received an outpour of support.

The forward for EFL Championship club Blackpool posted a message to the club's website that addressed his "fantastic" season and personal life.

"I've made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract, and shared success with my team-mates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup," Daniels penned.

However, he said that he was "hiding the real" him off the field.

"I've known my whole life that I'm gay, and I now feel that I'm ready to come out and be myself.

"It's a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I've been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change," he added.

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Daniels said that he had great advice and support from his family, Club, agent and Stonewall, who he said have all been extremely helpful in putting his "interests and welfare first."

"I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people."

Towards the end of the message, Daniels noted that he "hated lying" his entire life and felt that he had to "fit in." But now, he wants to be "a role model" for those who feel uncomfortable "revealing their sexuality."

"I just want to tell them that you don't have to change who you are or how you should be, just to fit in."

People and fellow football clubs took to social media platforms like Twitter to share their praise and support for Daniel.

One person on Twitter wrote: "After the impressive season you've had, I hope you'll keep on rising to the top. Proud of you, Jake. The huge part you're playing in bringing #LGBTQ inclusivity to men's football shouldn't be underestimated! #UTMP."

"@Jake_Daniels11, you have our full support and backing from all at @LFC. We are proud of your strength and bravery #RedTogether," added Liverpool FC.

Paul Brand, the UK Editor of @itvnews and presenter for @itvtonight, said that there is "Finally visibility" in a sport that is influential to the youth.

"Jake Daniels has become the first professional footballer in 32 years to come out as gay. A huge step and a moment many have long waited for. Finally, visibility in a sport that arguably inspires and influences more young people than any other," he tweeted.

Someone else who called Daniels a legend added: "Legend mate. A lot of courage goes into doing what you have done. You can be free and enjoy your life/football now. You have the full support of thousands in the game, an inspiration."

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