In a video on social media Tuesday, Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo came out.
The midfielder for Adelaide United, announced at the beginning of the video, “There’s something personal I need to share with everyone: I’m a footballer and I’m gay.”
Cavallo is the first active professional soccer player in the country to come out, according to OutSports. He's also the only known male professional soccer player in the world to be out right now, reported The Guardian.
Not being his authentic self was tiring, said Cavallo, 21. He said it was only due to concentrating on playing soccer that he was able to carry on.
“I’m trying of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to lead this double life,” Cavallo said in the video. “It’s exhausting. It’s something I don’t want anyone to experience.”
He said that he first believed that people would think differently of him or start making fun of him once they found out he was gay.
“That’s not the case. If anything, you’ll earn more respect from people,” the soccer player said. “The response and support I’ve received, it’s immense. It’s starting to make me think, Why have I been hiding this burden for so long?”
Now that he’s out, Cavallo said in a statement that it was time to help others embark on their own journeys.
Adelaide United’s head coach, Carl Veart, said he was proud of Cavallo, according to OutSports.
“Josh is a tremendous young man and has shown incredible courage to be one of very few professional sportsmen to be this brave,” Veart said. “I’m very proud of him. I have nothing but admiration and support for him, as do all the players and coaching staff.”
The team’s assistant coach, Ross Aloisi, also praised Cavallo.
“Before Josh spoke with me, it was clear he was living with an incredible burden and unimaginable pain. To see Josh today, with that weight lifted off his shoulders, it makes me proud of how brave a man he is,” Aloisi told The Guardian. “Josh’s mental health and well-being is the most important thing to us as his coaches and teammates. Josh will always be Josh to us.”