Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo comes out as gay

Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo has come out as gay. Only a handful of other professional soccer players have ever come out, and some of those did so after retiring.

Cavallo, 21, came out via a video and social media posting ahead of the new A-League season; Australia’s top-tier of teams. Cavallo plays for Adelaide United.

The team posted a video of Cavallo revealing he’s gay.

In the emotional clip, Cavallo says, “There’s something personal that I need to share with everyone: I’m a footballer, and I am gay.”

He goes on to say, “I was ashamed I’d never be able to do what I love, and be gay … All I want to do is play football and be treated equally. I’m tired of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life. It’s exhausting. It’s something that I don’t want anyone to experience.”

“I thought people would treat me differently when they found out. They would start treating me differently. They would start saying bad things about me or making fun out of me. That’s not the case. If anything, you earn more respect from people. Coming out to my loved ones, my peers, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, has been incredible. The response and support I have received is immense. It’s starting to make me think, why have I been hiding this burden for so long.

“I want to inspire and show people that it’s OK to show people that it´s okay to be yourself and play football.

“I want to show all the other people who are struggling and who are scared, whoever it may be, don’t act like someone you’re not. Be yourself. You’re meant to be yourself, not someone else.”

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Cavallo posted a separate statement to Instagram.

In this, he said, “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.”

He went on to say that he wanted to show that gay men can be out and be professional footballers.

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

“It is astonishing to know there are 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.”

Although Carl Nassib came out earlier this summer, he plays American Football. Cavallo is a soccer player, which is commonly referred to as football outside of the U.S – hence his reference to there being no other out, professional football players.

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Cavallo told Australia’s 10 television network that it was a night out celebrating the end of the last season that made him realize he needed to come out.

“There was lots of positivity happening in my life. But when I got home, I just felt numb. I had no emotions,” he said. “My life was great, but it wasn´t a life where I got to be my authentic self.

“Instead of celebrating, I sat in my bed crying that night. Having to constantly lie to the people I cared about wasn´t the way I wanted to live the rest of my life. My double life started to have a huge influence on my mental health. Although the football was amazing, I still wasn´t happy.”

Cavallo’s coming out has made big headlines in Australia and has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Australia’s professional players union called it a “wonderful moment” for him, the sport and “the LGBTI+ community.”

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