Professional soccer player Collin Martin has come out publicly as gay.
The 23-year-old Minnesota United midfielder made the announcement Friday morning just hours before Minnesota hosted their Pride Night against FC Dallas, Outsports reports.
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
“It’s an important night for me,” Martin tweeted. “I’ll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer.”
The announcement officially makes Martin the sole openly gay male professional athlete currently active in any of the five major North American sports leagues: MLS, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB.
Following in the cleat marks of Robbie Rogers, who came out publicly in 2013, Martin is only the second openly gay active player in MLS history.
Rogers, who retired last year, recently lamented the absence of openly gay major league athletes in the documentary Alone in the Game.
“I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates,” Martin wrote in his post. “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.”
“As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am,” he continued. “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.”
Some fans may have noted that Martin has shared multiple Instagram photos in recent years with his arm around a young man identified as Jim.
An MLS player for six seasons, Martin has been with Minnesota United for two seasons after spending his first four with D.C. United.
Minnesota lost the Pride Match 1-0 to Dallas.