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Pro soccer player Joanna Lohman proud of the World Cup athletes who have come out

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Joanna Lohman came out publicly several years ago, one of the first professional soccer players to do so. She has been followed by over a dozen World Cup players and coaches.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: Professional soccer player Joanna Lohman will blog for Outsports during the Women's World Cup.

Well the landscape has changed a lot since the last World Cup. When Megan Rapinoe came out before the London Olympics, it was big news carried in mainstream media. Three years later it seems that being out publicly has become more accepted.

Can you believe well over a dozen other international women's soccer players have decided to come out publicly and just be themselves? Women's soccer has always had a dedicated fan base - They enjoy the game but they love their players. They get to know them as people rather than just as athletes. We athletes are multi-faceted - Being a lesbian is just part of the package. The fans love us for all of us.

As a high-performing athlete, being your authentic self makes everything in life come more freely. We live in a social media world these days. Everyone has an iPhone and cameras are everywhere. We soccer players are a gregarious bunch. We take silly photos, Tweet like fiends and Vine crazy moments. One or two players came out in social media and the reaction wasn't negative. Others saw the positive energy that surrounded the moment and said, "hey I want to do that too."  A bit of a snowball effect.

In club soccer, we move around a lot. The season in the National Women's Soccer League is only six months long, so if you are looking to play year round, travel is a must. You get new teammates twice a year: locker rooms, bus rides, overnighters, we work and play together as a unit. Those who are living life out and proud - with their personalities and actions on display - influence those who are still silent.

The movement has been very organic and the number of women's soccer fans both young and old continues to grow, so I'm sure that this trend will continue. In a world where there is so much pressure to perform and be the person that the team and the press want you to be, I'm proud of the people who decide to take control of their lives and be who they want to be - no judgement.

Joanna Lohman is a professional soccer player taking the pitch for the Washington Spirit in 2015. Joanna was part of the US National Team from 2001-2007. She is the co-founder of JoLi Academy, a soccer program for girls in India. She has been publicly out for several years. You can follow Joanna on Twitter @JoannaLohman. Her Web site is JoannaLohman.com.