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Jake Daniels comes out as gay: Blackpool professional wants to be a role model

ABlackpool FC’s Jake Daniels has become the second professional footballer to publicly reveal his homosexuality. The 17-year-old, who recently signed his first professional contract with English second division club Blackpool, said he was gay in an interview with Sky Sports broadcaster published on Monday.

“Now is the right time to do that,” Daniels said. “I feel ready to tell people my story.”

So far, Daniels is the only active professional footballer in Europe who has taken this step. Before Daniels, 22-year-old Australia’s Josh Cavallo of Adelaide United had publicly come out as gay last October.

The late Justin Fashanu came out in England in 1990. In Germany, the only professional to date who came out was former national player Thomas Hitzlsperger after the end of his career. In 2013, former US international and former major league soccer player Robbie Rogers did it.

Before the interview, he informed his family and his club about it, Daniels said. “For a long time I thought that because I wanted to be a professional footballer, which I am now, I was hiding my truth,” said the attacker, who reported initial doubts. “I was wondering if I should wait until I retire before making it public.”

“I just don’t want to lie anymore,” Daniels said, expressing hope that other active players would follow suit. “I’m only 17 but I’m aware that it’s what I want to do,” said the Blackpool star, “and if by coming out, other people see that and that Feeling that maybe they can do the same would be awesome.”

The decision was worth it for him, said the striker. “I scored four goals the day after I told my mom and my sister,” Daniels said. “It shows what a weight I got off my shoulders and what a tremendous relief it was.”

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