Josh Cavallo, an Australian professional soccer player for Adelaide United, has publicly come out as gay.
In an Instagram statement and video this week, Cavallo said he was ready to share "something personal" with his followers. The announcement means that Cavallo is the only openly gay, active international top-flight male soccer player.
"I'm a footballer and I'm gay," Cavallo said in the video.
He continued, "Growing up I always felt the need to hide myself, you know, because I was ashamed. Ashamed I would never be able to do what I love and be gay. Hiding who I truly am to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid. All I want to do is play football and be treated equally. I'm tired of trying to perform at the best of [my] ability and to live this double life. It's exhausting, it's something that I don't want anyone to experience."
Cavallo said he previously hadn't revealed his sexuality because he was worried people would "start treating me differently." Luckily, he said, that's "not the case," and if anything he's "earned more respect."
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Josh Cavallo
Coming out, he said, "has been incredible." Added Cavallo, "The response and support I have received have been immense" and have made him wonder "Why have I been hiding this burden for so long?"
He said he hopes that his followers understand that "It's okay to be gay and to play football."
Dailyausfootball Josh Cavallo
"I want to show all the other people that are struggling and that are scared, whoever it may be, don't act like someone you're not," the athlete explained. "You were meant to be yourself, not someone else."
In his earlier Instagram statement, Cavallo addressed the fact that there are currently no other "gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world." He added, "Hopefully this will change in the near future."
The soccer player also thanked his team fo their support, writing, "To my Adelaide United family, thank you for greeting me with the utmost respect and acceptance."
In response to Cavallo's news, Adelaide United issued their support for the athlete, who they called "a remarkable and brave person."
"We stand alongside Josh for proudly being true to himself and will continue to love and support him as a member of our beautifully diverse family," said Adelaide United.
The young player started his A-League career with Western United in the 2019-2020 season. He began his tenure with Adelaide United in early 2021.