The coming out last week of professional soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger has inspired at least one other British footballer to do the same. Liam Davis is a midfielder for Gainsborough Trinity who took the leap this weekend in the Lincolnshire Echo.
This makes Davis the only publicly out professional or semi-pro footballer in England. While he said he doesn't know of any other gay men in soccer, he knows he's not the only gay in the village.
Footballer Thomas Hitzlsperg comes out as gay
Hitzlsperger played in the English Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and the World Cup. He becomes one of the very few European soccer players to come out.
Now, with football played so much from the top level down to non-league, there has to be more than one, statistics say that. So what that says to me there must be some who are not comfortable to come out.
At the age of 23 I like to think that I've got a good number of years left in the game and a lot of time to make a stand.
I personally hope that over the next 10 years I'm not the only gay footballer out there. Nobody wants to be forced out, but I hope they can look and see there is someone out there who has done it.
I hope we can get to a stage where it is not a bad thing, that there is no problem and people just get on with it.
Gainsborough Trinity is a semi-pro club. It's located about 150 miles north of London.
Davis said his team has known since he was first signed, that it was a teammate who coaxed him to come out to them, and -- like every other male athlete we've heard from -- his teammates have accepted him:
The goalkeeper Phil Barnes brought it up with me at the bar. I don't know if it was a bit of Dutch courage that made me talk about it, but I think the way Phil asked helped as well. He did it in a jokey way which broke the ice and that was good.
I didn't know if people knew. I had intended to just get on with playing football. There had been questions like, ‘have you got a girlfriend', and I'd just say ‘no', because it was the truth, so I had a suspicion that they might have an idea. Then it turned out they all knew from the first day I was at training.
That is the one thing I will say I really enjoy about playing for Gainsborough, is that it is a very close knit group of lads.
Read more at the Linclonshire Echo. You can see Davis talk about signing with Gainsborough last year:
Liam Davis talks about his move to Gainsborough Trinity (via Kristan Smith)
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