Collin Martin, a 23-year-old midfielder for the Minnesota United soccer team in Major League Soccer, came out as gay on Friday, the same day his team was hosting a Pride night at its home stadium. Now, Martin is the only openly gay pro athlete in the U.S. among the five major sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS).
Tonight my team, @MNUFC , is having their Pride night. It's an important night for me — I'll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. #soccerforall pic.twitter.com/cOJQXfrBiv— Collin Martin (@martcw12) June 29, 2018
Martin said he’s been out for many years among his family, friends, and teammates, and in his statement, he wrote, “Today, I’m proud that my entire team and the management of Minnesota United know that I am gay. I have received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer and that has made my decision to come out publicly much easier.
He continued by writing, “As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am. In light of my experience as a professional athlete, I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly. June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man.”
Martin follows in the footsteps of Robbie Rogers, a former MLS player who came out in 2013 and was the first openly gay man in any U.S. pro sports league. He retired last season, leaving Martin as the only one currently.
Unsurprisingly, Rogers was moved by Martin’s pronouncement, telling Martin on Twitter that he was an inspiration.
After Minnesota lost 1-0 to Dallas on Friday, Martin spoke to reporters about the experience.
“It was overwhelming, but in a good way,” Martin told reporters after the game. “I felt loved and appreciated and supported. It was a special day for me.”
H/T Fox 9