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Professional MLS football player Collin Martin comes out as gay

He is the second-ever player to come out as gay during a Major League Soccer career

Major League Soccer player Collin Martin has come out as a gay man, making him the second-ever MLS player to do so.

Martin, who's a midfielder for Minnesota United, announced his sexuality on Twitter, just hours before his team was scheduled to host a “Pride Match” in support of the LGBT community.

Acknowledging that his friends, family and team members have known his sexuality for “many years,” Martin wrote: “Tonight my team, Minnesota United, is having their Pride night.

“It’s an important night for me - I’ll be announcing for the first time publicly that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer.”

The 23-year-old continued: “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.”

Martin has played Major League Soccer for the last six years and is currently in his second season with Minnesota.
He is the second player to come out during a playing career, following Robbie Rogers' announcement in 2013 before immediately retiring as a Leeds player.

Rogers, who returned to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy, responded to Martin on Twitter, writing: “Love this! So so inspiring thank you Collin! Good luck this season, except against the LA Galaxy.”

Concluding his post, Martin expressed his gratitude to his teammates for “their unconditional support for who I am.”

"I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly," he wrote. “June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man."

In response to Martin’s announcement, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement: “We admire Collin’s courage, and are proud of him and of the support from the soccer community.”

Martin’s teammates and fans also shared messages of support.

“You the man Col! Proud to call you a teammate and a friend! Now let’s go get this W!” said teammate Christian Ramirez.

Martin’s former team, DC United, wrote: “Sending you love and support from DC, Collin! Have fun tonight!”

The June 29 game, against FC Dallas, is Minnesota United’s fifth annual Pride Match.

According to their website, MNUFC was the “first professional sports team to sign the Athlete Ally pledge in October of 2014, demonstrating a commitment to equality and inclusiveness - two guiding principles that the club has carried forward with it into Major League Soccer.”

To celebrate their commitment to the LGBT community, players will exit the tunnel surrounded by “massive rainbow scarves” and will be sporting rainbow-coloured number decals. Independent.co.uk

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