Australian soccer star Josh Cavallo came out Wednesday, becoming the only openly gay male top-level professional soccer player in the world.
Cavallo, a midfielder for Adelaide United, came out in a video posted to his club's social media accounts.
"Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself, you know, because I was ashamed," Cavallo said. "Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay."
"All I want to do is to play football and be treated equally," he continued. "I'm tired trying to perform at the best of your ability and live this double life. It's exhausting. It's something I don't want anyone to experience."
Aside from Cavallo, there are only several openly gay male athletes currently competing in major sports leagues around the world.
In June, Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib announced that he is gay, making him the first openly gay active NFL player. Nashville Predators player Luke Prokop became the first openly gay active NHL player this month, after coming out in July.
Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers, an American, came out as gay in 2013, as he announced his retirement. Shortly afterward, Rogers went on to play for the L.A. Galaxy, becoming the first openly gay male athlete to compete in a top U.S. professional sports league.
Cavallo revealed that he had already come out privately to his family, friends and teammates, and that he thought they would start treating him differently. Instead, he said that the response has been "incredible."
Speaking to reporters outside of the club's stadium on Wednesday, Adelaide United head coach Carl Veart said he "can’t be any more prouder" of Cavallo.
"We want our players to be themselves, to express themselves to be the best person that they can be," Veart said. "Not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well."
Cavallo wrote in a post on Twitter that he knows there are other LGBTQ players "living in silence."
“I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community," he wrote. "As the game of football keeps expanding, I want to help evolve the game even further, and let other players in my situation feel that they’re not alone.”