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Out Scottish Soccer Player Zander Murray Announces Retirement

Out Scottish Soccer Player Zander Murray Announces Retirement

Out Gay Scottish Soccer Player Zander Murray Announce Retirement
Craig Brown/SNS Group via Getty Images

Murray was the first top-tier player in the country to come out.

The first out senior professional soccer player in Scotland announced his retirement from the sport in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday.

Zander Murray, 32, came out via posts to social media in 2022 and was the subject of a BBC documentary, Disclosure: Out on the Pitch, where he discussed his sexual identity and issues of inclusion and homophobia in soccer.

Murray said the time was right for him to step away from the sport.

“I think you just know when your time is up and that’s where I’m at,” Murray told the BBC in an exclusive interview. “You just know when the right time is.”

Murray, a native of Glasgow, played five seasons professionally. This past year he was signed by Bonnyrigg Rose of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), the top-tier professional league in the country. He spent the previous season with the Gala Fairydean Rovers of the Lowland League, where he set the team’s single-season scoring record. He was with the Fairydean Rovers when he came out.

Murray had come out to his family the previous year but struggled with coming out publicly.

The response to his coming out was generally positive, however, and a year after the documentary's release, he told OutSports he was at ease with his identity.

“I’m aligned in my own self and I’m happy and content,” Murray told OutSports in August. “I still get stressed with generic stuff like everyone does but other than that, life is ridiculously better and I would encourage anyone going through anything similar to myself to do what I’ve done.”

Murray said the past year was particularly momentous for him. He was able to fulfill a lifelong goal of playing in the Scottish Professional Football League and he was also able to lead the Pride parade through Edinburgh in June.

“It was overwhelming to be able to lead something so amazing,” he told the BBC of the experience. “It was monumental and something I'd been so afraid of for years.”

Murray said he plans to use his work with charities and organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community to help chart the course through the next chapter of his life. He was most recently an ambassador for the Gay Games 2023 held this past November in Hong Kong. He has also worked with Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), which works with local schools to address homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic prejudice and bullying in the education system.

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