"It's OK to Be Yourself": This Pro Soccer Player Shared His Coming-Out Journey to Inspire Others

Australian pro soccer player Josh Cavallo came out as gay today in an emotional video intended not only to share his own story but to inspire others to be true to themselves, too.

"All I want to do is play football and be treated equally," said Cavallo, who plays left back and midfield for Adelaide United in Australia. "Trying to perform to the best of your ability and live this double life . . . it's exhausting, and it's something that I don't want anyone to experience."

In a statement on Twitter, Cavallo said he'd been "fighting my sexuality" for years, and he knows "there are other players living in silence. I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football, and deserves the right to be their authentic self." Cavallo is currently the only active professional male soccer player known to be out and gay, a fact he called "astonishing." Progress has been slow in other major men's sports leagues as well. "I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community." Cavallo said he was nervous at first to come out publicly but that he's received "incredible" support from his loved ones, coaches, and teammates.

Above and beyond sports, he said in the video, he wants anyone who's struggling with their sexuality to know it's OK to be yourself. "You were meant to be yourself, not someone else," he said. Watch the full, emotional video above.