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Australian A-league soccer player Josh Cavallo made a groundbreaking personal announcement Wednesday, telling the world that he is gay and will no longer live his life in the closet.
Cavallo, who plays for Adelaide United, came out in an emotional video that the team posted on Twitter.
In the video, Cavallo discussed his personal journey and his decision to come out. When he was young and realized he was gay, he thought that meant he'd never be able to play professional soccer. He hid his identity for so long, and was afraid to come out to his family, friends, teammates and coaches because he wasn't sure of the response he'd get.
Instead of anger and scorn, he was received with love and acceptance.
"Coming out to my loved ones, my peers, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, has been incredible," Cavallo said. "The response and support I have received is immense. It's starting to make me think that, why have I been hiding this burden for so long?"
Cavallo's announcement means he's currently the only openly gay top-tier male soccer player in the world, a fact he's very aware of. In a message he posted on Twitter, he said that he hopes his decision to come out will encourage others in the game to do the same.
"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 that there are currently no gay professional football players who are out and actively playing not only in Australia, but around the world. Hopefully this will change in the near future. I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community. As the game of football keeps expanding, I want to help evolve the game even further, and let other players in my situation feel that they're not alone."
Cavallo receives support, praise for his bravery
Cavallo received love and acceptance from his family, friends and teammates when he came out to them. When he came out to the world, he was flooded with positive messages from fans, players, lawmakers and more.
Hey @JoshuaCavallo, I don’t have the pleasure to know you personally but I want to thank you for this step that you take. The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward. https://t.co/pe8xdJl15i
— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) October 27, 2021
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) October 27, 2021
It’s absurd that coming out is a brave thing to do in football. It is though, and I’m full of admiration for Josh for treading a path hopefully many others will follow. I’m sure the overwhelming majority of football lovers will support him and erase the fear others may have. https://t.co/iDvg67qN7s
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) October 27, 2021
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) October 27, 2021
— Borja Iglesias (@BorjaIglesias9) October 27, 2021
Any young person who is struggling with their identity, or feeling excluded or judged, can look today to Josh Cavallo.
Thank you for your courage Josh. For reminding all that we are strong and we are here. And we are United. https://t.co/3hq4Ygpg9D
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) October 27, 2021
Josh Cavallo, you are a champion.
You are a pioneer.
It is rotten that this is still so tough, but you are breaking through barriers, paving the way for others and no doubt helping some kids get through challenging stuff with your example. Bravo. https://t.co/qjPMQGI1oT
— Joe O'Brien (@JoeDoesNews) October 27, 2021
Seeing world famous pros take a stand and speak out in support of Josh Cavallo today is beautiful. We *do* have allies in professional football, and more and more are speaking up. About time. Change is coming. 🏳️🌈👏⚽️ pic.twitter.com/teRou9Pw4W
— Jack Duncan 🔻 (@JackDunc1) October 27, 2021
Adelaide United also released a statement in support of Cavallo, including a statement from head coach Carl Veart.
“Josh is a tremendous young man and has shown incredible courage to be one of very few professional sportsmen to be this brave.
“I’m very proud of him.
“I have nothing but admiration and support for him, as do all the players and coaching staff.
“He has, and will always be, a valued and respected part of our team and our Club.
“I want all my players to feel comfortable and happy being their own person, on and off the park.
“For Josh to be the best he can be and get the most out of his career, he needs the freedom to be himself and I fully support him.”