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USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin came out as gay on Friday over social media, becoming the only active athlete in the major men’s U.S. professional leagues to be publicly out.
“You look around, there’s still not an out professional athlete,” Martin told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “So it’s still important.”
Martin informed his Minnesota United teammates on Monday that he intended to make his sexual orientation public — ahead of the team’s Pride Night on Friday. Martin told the paper that he has been out with his teammates and coaches for more than a year.
In Twitter and Instagram posts, Martin encouraged others to come out and said he’s “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 follows in the footsteps of fellow LGBT soccer player Robbie Rogers, who retired from MLS in 2017 after coming out in 2013.
MLS commissioner Don Garber released a statement about Martin, saying: “We admire Collin’s courage, and are proud of him and of the support from the soccer community.”
Martin’s MLS career began with D.C. United, where he played for four seasons before spending the last two in Minnesota.
“At this point, it was just trying to maybe get over that hump and to maybe see if I can just affect more people,” Martin told The Star Tribune, “because I think I’ve affected a lot of people in my daily life and around this locker room positively just by being myself.”