MLS midfielder Collin Martin comes out as gay

Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin has publicly come out as gay, making him the only publicly gay male athlete in America's five major professional leagues.

The 23-year-old posted a statement on social media on Friday morning, ahead of the Major League Soccer club's Pride night.

"Tonight my team, Minnesota United, 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," Martin wrote.

"I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates. I have played Major League Soccer for 6 seasons; 4 seasons with DC United and 2 seasons with Minnesota United.

"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 the decision to come out publicly that much easier.

"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.

In 2014, Michael Sam came out as gay ahead of the NFL draft. The defensive end was subsequently drafted by the St Louis Rams in the seventh round but cut from their roster before the season began.

He also spent time with the Dallas Cowboys but did not appear in an NFL game. He later played for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League.

Former LA Galaxy wide man and United States international Robbie Rogers was the first openly gay man to play in one of the top-five leagues when he came out in February 2013. NBA centre Jason Collins came out later that year and had a short spell with the Brooklyn Nets in 2014.

- PA


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