Canadian Pro Soccer Player David Testo: “I’m Gay”

In an interview with Radio Canada today, former Montreal Impact midfielder David Testo came clean about being gay.“I’m a homosexual. I’m gay. I have no choice. It’s just part of who I am. And it has nothing to do with the talent of a soccer player,” he said. “You can be both an excellent soccer player and be gay.”

Um, duh?

Testo, 30, describes life as a closeted pro athlete as “hard.” “It’s like carrying around a secret, you know, and carrying around luggage and just never being allowed to be yourself.”



Testo was named the Montreal Impact’s Most Valuable Player  in 2009, but was released by the team last month. He hasn’t announced his retirement from MLS, so he’s in a kind of professional limbo—making his announcement all the more risky.

Then again, maybe he needn’t worry: Anton Hysen came earlier this year while still on Sweden’s BK Hacken team and, in March Hysen told the Guardian, “It’s not a big thing… If there’s anyone afraid of coming out they should give me a call.”

Perhaps David should given Anton a ring?

Image via Wilson Wong

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  • ke

    He’s American. Not Canadian.

  • sabatghzl1098

    @ke: true, but he’s played for Canadian teams since 2006.

  • Brandon H

    I want him to take that stance over my face.

    I got a thing for soccer players.

  • Cam

    I hope he gets picked up by another team. Good on him for coming out.

  • otto

    well he is canadian

    what do you all expect??

  • Eminent Victorian

    He is *not* Canadian. Good for him, I guess, on coming out and all, but it’s a shame he didn’t do so while still in the MLS. Listening to him say he “had to” be so careful about his word usage in public and so on is a little dispiritng because, of course, it’s baloney. He did not “have to;” he decided to.

  • MoJo

    Secret?! Dogs know he’s gay! :=]

  • Reason

    Good that he came out, but MLS could hardly be considered professional soccer. It’s the armpit of the sport, where washed up stars come to wind down and never will be spend there carriers. Hope you get picked up though I probably will never watch you, but hey your brave and cute for an older guy. Good luck. Come out in English premier league you will be a rock star with one more fan. Then again, in that league you may want to wait untill your retiring.

  • Carl

    Good to see a football player (it’s football, NOT ‘soccer’. Always has been, always will be) come out – now we just need the Football Association here in the UK (and FIFA as well) to really start to deal with homophobia (not just the haphazard way they’ve done so up to now) in the sport and have players come out.

  • Carl

    Carl, it’s soccer. OK? I’m sure your country’s SOCCER league is fairly homophobic but that’s nothing compared to the NFL(National FOOTBALL League). Any American football player that comes would get the shit beat out of them. It’s not a good environment at all.

  • DALI

    American or Canadian? Soccer or football? Who gives a f**k? This story is much more important than your stupid, petty squabble.

  • rory

    Er no it’s definitely football.

  • Carl

    @Carl: No, it’s Football – always has been, always will be. How can a sport where most of the time you touch the ball with your hands be called football? In Football, you use your feet to move the ball – hence the name. Only goalkeepers and a player performing a throw-in (a means of restarting the game when the ball leaves the pitch) can use their hands. American ‘football’ really doesn’t deserve the name in the most literal sense: handball yes, football no. Besides which, I’ve never seen the point of a sport where players feel compelled to strap on 40lbs of protective gear just to play Rugby… And Dali, it’s about accuracy in reporting (although asking that of Queerty is pushing the envelope, I grant you).

    Still, congratulations to David, it’s a bold move. And if you think it’s not possible for a player to come out, just look to Gareth Thomas, who played in one of the most virulently homophobic sports, Rugby, yet came out and continued in his role for a couple more years before retiring on unrelated grounds (indeed, despite the generally homophobic nature of the sport, he received a lot of support, to the point where a rival club was fined £40,000 after its fans spent a match chanting homophobic abuse at him). It is possible and it’s simple cowardice that stops people – fear of abuse, fear of rejection, fear of ‘consequences’ to their career.

    But so long as nobody comes out, that will continue. The only way things will change is if players come out. We need more players, around the world, to follow in the footsteps of David Testo, Gareth Thomas, Anton Hysen and others. Only through their actions can homophobia in sport in general be overcome.

  • ke

    @DALI: Look, douche. Get the nationality correct. Dumb a-hole mofo sob prick.

  • Reason

    @Carl: He is correct it is football everywhere else in the world, and the reasoning is logical. If you really believe that a NFL player comming out will be more tormented than a “soccer” player in the UK you don’t no much about the fan base. I can’t think of one incident where someone was killed, burned, or attacked at an NFL game, the guys across the pond can think of many. The fans in the UK and especially those in the rest of Europe can become despicable animals at the drop of a hat. Passions run high over there and violence, racism, nationalism, and homophobia are often a result.

  • TommyOC

    “Soccer” is an amalgamation of “Association Football.” It’s worth noting that the sport was originally referred to in English documents as “soccer” in the late 1800’s. It should also be noted that the English themselves used the term “soccer” interchangeably with “football” well into the 1960’s.

    Several English media outlets still use the word “soccer.”

    Today, Americans, Canadians, Australians, Indians and South Africans are among several English-speaking nations that are known to refer to the sport as “soccer.” Who exported this sport to these countries? What common tie do they have? If only there was some sort of cultural assimilation happening during the height of a global empire to help explain it away… if only.. wait! There was! The BRITISH EMPIRE introduced the sport — AND THE WORD! — to these countries.

    The modern Japanese call it soccer as well, but that one you can blame on the Americans.

    Oh… and the Italians? They don’t call it football, either. They call it “kick” (or, if you want to stretch, “kickball.”)

    Now… go hate on them.

  • TommyOC

    @Reason: It’s not that “passions run high[er]” over in Europe as opposed to North American leagues, it’s that passions run unchecked.

    Euro fans seem to think American fans are a dispassionate lot. On the contrary, American fans are quite passionate – but there is a measure of mutual respect, a recognition that it’s okay to support “the other guys,” that doesn’t exist in Europe. You can have both the passion and the respect; the latter does not have to limit the former.

    Many Europeans have yet to figure that out.

  • TommyOC

    And to compare this guy to Hysen’s coming out in Switzerland is naive.

    Level of Play:

    1-A) Hysen never made an appearance for BK Hacken. He currently plays on a fourth-division team.

    1-B) Testo made 33 appearance for first-division Columbus Crew of MLS between 2004 and 2005. He’s most recently played in 2nd-Division teams, having won championships with both Vancouver (2006) and Montreal (2009), the latter of which he was crowned the team’s MVP for the year.

    Age & Prospects:

    2-A) Hysen is 21 years old this year and while his prospects can always improve, to go from a 1st- to 4th-division team at a young age doesn’t bode well for him.

    2-B) Testo is 30, the peak of a midfielder’s keenness and cunning, though he’s on the other side of the watershed when it comes to wear & tear. He’s maybe got 2-5 good years left if he stays healthy.

    Coming Out:

    3-A) As noted, Hysen’s career is without traction. His coming out will have a negligible effect on his career (but congrats for his bravery all the same.)

    3-B) Testo came out to the general public yesterday; Testo has been out to his team at least since 2007 as according to interviews with Montreal’s management, they knew he was gay when they signed him them.

    Testo is currently without a team, Montreal deciding to not offer him a new contract. There are many reasons for this, none of them having to do with him being gay. He’s still a solid player, but he’s a player who suffers injuries often. Those injuries, when they allow him to even take the field, can hurt his play.

    If someone gives Testo a chance – and if he stays injury-free – he would be a good addition to them. Can he find his way back to MLS? Slim chances at present. Another USL-1 team? Probably not. USL Pro might be his next destination for some player rehabilitation.

    Congrats to him all the same and good luck on your career!

  • Riker

    Yes, different parts of the world call the sport “football” and “soccer”. Americans overwhelmingly call it “soccer”. David Testo is American, and Queerty is an American blog. Therefore, we use the American name for something.

    How would you like it if Americans came over to a British blog and criticized them for spelling words like colour and centre the proper British way? I’m betting you wouldn’t like that at all. The English language is spoken different ways in different areas. There’s nothing wrong with that, so stop trying to insist that your version is superior.

  • Carl

    @Reason: To be fair, the days of “football hooligans” indulging in physical violence are gone. However, homophobia – especially amongst the fans – is still a major problem and it’s only in the last couple of years that the governing bodies in the UK and globally have decided to address the issue.

    On the football/soccer tangent – people are correct, we gave the world the sport and the name. The ‘soccer’ name is rare as rocking horse shit here, used only by media outlets attempting to appear ‘intellectual’ (and not realising it makes them look moronic). It’s football and the name makes sense. Since it’s a sport we created let me use a metaphor – how would you guys feel if our media ran baseball stories but called it something else, like “stumpless cricket” or something equally silly? Would it be annoying? Probably. That’s how it is for me, so of course I’m going to mention it!

    Back to homophobia in sport – again I say congratulations to this young man – and every sports person who comes out. They should all be supported and encouraged – it’s the only way we will rid sport (all sport) of homophobia . It’s why I think Gareth Thomas is such a great example. He challenges every stereotype of gay men.

  • Luc Larivée

    @DALI: You are right on. People are missing the point here. This is a great story.
    It’s not about nationalities, it’s about the courage of a young man who lived a troubled
    existence before coming out. Let’s not get sidetracked.
    May you now live in peace, David.

  • TommyOC

    @Carl: Your *analogy* makes no sense. You ask how Americans would feel if the British would suddenly start calling “baseball” by a different name. Of course that would be stupid.

    But that’s not analogous to the soccer/football situation. Unlike your baseball scenario, Americans didn’t *create* a new name for your invented sport!

    Since the British called it “soccer” first – and some still do, by your own admission – there is absolutely no problem with Americans using the name. We didn’t invent a new name for the sport, nor did we try to *change* the name. (In fact, if anything, it’s you British who changed the name of the sport. Perhaps in this aspect, Americans are much more traditionalist with your sport than you give them credit for.)

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