Saturday, 12 November 2011

Second* Professional Footballer comes out

You may never have heard of David Testo, but here he is scoring against AC Milan.

The reason you may not have heard of him is that until now he has he only was a member of a Major League Soccer team, Columbus Crew, for two seasons of his career 2004-5. For most of the first season of that he was injured. But since then he has played for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact in the second tier of American football the North American Soccer League.

However, the out of contract player has announced on Radio Canada that he is gay, therefore possibly doubling the number of the opening out professional footballers.

He former team mate and captain of Impact said:Nevio Pizzolitto said:

"I'm sure it was something that weighed on his mind for a long time, which is why I think he finally came out with it."

"I'm glad he did, because he's in a position where he can inspire a lot of people to do the same. Even though we’re professional athletes, we're also human beings, and maybe something like this will change the minds of those in the same position. What David did was great."

In the extract from the radio interview with Testo he said:

"I'm a homosexual. I'm gay. I didn't choose this. This is just who I am. It's has nothing to do if you're good at soccer. You can still be an amazing soccer player and be gay.

"I really do regret not having come out earlier. It's something that I've struggled with my whole life and career.

"It's hard. Living the life of a professional athlete and being gay is incredibly hard. It's like carrying around a secret. Carrying around luggage and never actually being allowed to just be yourself. Its incredibly energy draining on top of having to perform, on top of having to play.

"I don't know how everyone else feels about it, I never did know. That's what probably is the hardest thing about this is."

He carried on talking about how hard it was an individual to "on a daily basis" to be aware and careful of the things he said, to whom he said them with whom he was seen walking around. He was must upset that when he was named MVP in the 2009 season that he couldn't thank his partner by name. But he also realised that being in the closet was also having an impact on those around him on his teams adding.

"I also think players around me had to do the same towards me, and I felt that. That sucks as a human being."

The player was out of contract and released by Montreal Impact on 12 October, but at the age of 30 might still be picked up by another team for next season. I hope he gets the chance so that he can play his sport alongside team mates being totally who he for a change and to get over the fact that he knows that the having to be careful because of not being open has "sucked" not just for him but for those around him.

* Second current, if we count the late Justin Fashanu there are only three openly out players in history.

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