Major League Soccer midfielder Collin Martin arrived Friday as a gay man, publicly announcing his sexuality for the first time, though he said it had been known by family, friends and teammates for years.
Martin, 23, made the announcement in social media hours before his club, Minnesota United FC, hosted FC Dallas for his "Pride Match" I'm proud to know that my entire team and the management of Minnesota United that I'm gay, "Martin wrote in a message on Twitter." I've just received kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer and that made the decision to appear in public a lot easier. "
" I think so 'For a while I hesitated to post on social media, but look around – I'm the only gay athlete in the five major sports on the men's side,' said Martin, a Bethesda native, in a telephone interview on Friday. " It's time. "
Martin started telling his sexuality to selected family members and friends at the age of 19. These conversations were nerve-wracking, he said, but the support, d he received helped him gain confidence in his parents
He told his parents Monday that he was planning a public coming-out announcement to coincide with the end of Pride Month, and with the pride of team.
"We talked openly with him about how a parent would talk to anyone about speaking publicly about something that is private to many," said his father Gerard Martin. "He felt strongly about it."
"Representation is huge," said Collin Martin. "It is important to have role models in every workplace in every environment, the fact is that there are not enough professional athletes who are good role models for children who grow up and are gay."
"People need to know that No matter what sexuality you are, how old you are, what race. It does not matter. You will be well received in a team, as long as you are a good teammate and do your job every day.
Gerard Martin said he and Collin's mother told their son the same thing on Monday, what they did, when Collin came out years ago.
" We love him. We support him, "said Gerard Martin," in our parenting we say that you take what they give you. You can not order things. They are who they are. We love him and we are proud of him.
Collin Martin is in his sixth MLS season and second in Minnesota.The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School graduate and a 2011 All-Met selection broke into the league in 2013 after one year of college at Wake Forest to George Washington and played professionally with DC United.
After four seasons without much playing time, United shipped him to Minnesota in exchange for a fourth campaign draft in 2018.
But Martin has consistently leapt to Minnesota lineup, He appeared in 11 games with seven starts last season and six games with three starts this year.
"In light of my experience as a professional athlete," Martin wrote in his tweet, "I want to use this moment to encourage others to play sports professionally or otherwise, to have confidence that the sport will wholeheartedly welcome you. June is Pride Month, and I'm proud to play for Pride and play as a gay man.
He is the second MLS player of recent years to emerge during his playing career, Robbie Rogers announced that he was gay in 2013 and retired immediately, and three months later he announced his return to the game taken by the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"Love this!" wrote Rogers on Friday while publishing Martin's message, "So Inspirational."
Teammates have also posted support messages, with one Martin "an incredible person and one."
The numbers surrounding professional football cheered Martin's announcement.
Orlando City SC wrote to Martin on Twitter "They have support from all of us in Orlando!"
Timbers Army, the official fan section of the Portland Timbers replied : "You must not wear green and gold, but we are proud to know you." Cheers and congratulations. "They have an army behind himself (from a distance). "
" We admire Collins courage and are proud of him and the support of the football community, "said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement.
This news was a relief, Martin said. He was nervous all morning, knowing that his announcement would be released shortly before noon. He had prepared himself for all sorts of reactions, but also knew that he had a game to play Friday night, no matter how the reaction went.
"As soon as I click this button, life would change for me," he said. "It was a weight that was lifted safely."
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