Minnesota United Midfielder Announces Publicly He is Gay

Collin Martin Photo: Minnesota United
Collin Martin

June 29, 2018 07:30 PM

A Minnesota United midfielder has become the only active player in any of the five major male professional sports leagues to publicly acknowledge he is gay.

Collin Martin made the announcement on his Twitter account Friday morning, in advance of the United's Pride Night contest against FC Dallas Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium.

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"Tonight my team, Minnesota United, is having their Pride night," read his tweet. "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."

Martin went on to thank his teammates for their support, and to encourage others to follow his example.

"As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am," his tweet continued. "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."

RELATED: Tour of Minnesota United's Future Home at 50 Percent Completion Mark

Martin, who spent one year playing college soccer at Wake Forest, was acquired by the United in a trade in January, 2017. He made seven starts for the team a year ago.

His announcement Friday drew support across MLS.

“We admire Collin's courage, and are proud of him and of the support from the soccer community,” commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

The franchise too tweeted and retweeted messages of support.

"You the man Col! Proud to call you a teammate and friend," tweeted United forward Christian Ramirez. "Now Let's go get this W!"

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Frank Rajkowski

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