Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin has publicly came out as gay ahead of his club's Pride Night match against FC Dallas.
Minnesota played against Dallas on Friday night for their fifth annual Pride Match, coinciding with Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community.
And Martin took the opportunity to announce that he is gay just hours before the event.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the 23-year-old said that most of his teammates were already aware and encouraged others in a similar situation to do the same.
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.
I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates. I have played Major League Soccer for 6 seasons: 4 seasons with DC United and 2 seasons with Minnesota United. 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. As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am.
In light of my experience as a professional athlete, I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly. June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man.
And the announcement has been met with support from around the league.
Martin is now the only active openly gay male athlete in any of the five major men’s sports leagues in the United States.
Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers came out in 2013, going on to play for LA Galaxy in MLS before retiring in 2017 due to injuries.