EVANSTON, Illinois — Guys were undressing after practice when Robbie White walked into the Northwestern men’s soccer team’s locker room. Before taking off his goalie gear, he said he had an announcement.
The locker room became quiet.
A month earlier, White told his teammates in his recruiting class that he is gay.
Now this was the final day of practice in May before everyone left for the summer, so with a nudge from his roommate, White decided to clue in everyone else.
“All right, I’m gay,” White said. “Carry on with your day.”
His teammates didn’t carry on. They cheered and clapped then lined up to give him hugs.
“I felt a lot of love,” White said. “That was one of my top moments here at school. Everyone was smiling and cheering. It was great.”
Now, he is coming out publicly, apparently becoming the first LGBT athlete from a men’s team sport in the Big Ten Conference to come out publicly during his college career. He’s also believed to be the first men’s soccer player from any of the Power Five conference schools to come out publicly as LGBT during his college career.
“I just wanted to be a normal guy that can have his wife and kids,” White said. “Getting from there to here has been a process, but I’m happy I made it.”
White coming out publicly as gay is the culmination of an intense 13 months that started with his first career start in goal for the Wildcats.
On Sept. 18, 2016, White was named the starting goalie for the first time as Northwestern faced No. 3-ranked Indiana. A redshirt freshman at the time, he made six saves and held the Hoosiers scoreless for 110 minutes in a double overtime match that ended in a scoreless tie.
But after the match, he learned he broke his right foot during the final minute of regulation — an injury he continued to play with during the two overtimes. His season was done.
The months of rehab for his foot started to weigh on him, and in early 2017, a trainer noticed White was, what he describes now as, “a little more down for a week or so.” The trainer suggested White see a counselor, which he did.
He talked through the malaise of rehabbing his foot, but White also talked to the counselor about a secret he’d known, on some level, for five years — that he’s gay.
“As much as I didn’t want to be gay at the time, I had to accept that I was,” White said. “There’s no point in fighting it. You can’t really change it, so you might as well live your life the way you should live it.”
White gradually started telling his friends that he’s gay, and the first teammate he told was his roommate Braden Thuraisingham.
He told Thuraisingham the Saturday before Easter as a test run before coming out to his parents and two sisters on Easter. And the Monday after Easter, he came out to his teammates in his recruiting class.
“I was on a tear of telling people at that point,” White said.
But going from telling the seven teammates he’s closest with to telling a room of 30 guys stopped the tear. That was until Thuraisingham encouraged him to come out on the final day of spring practice.
That went well and so has this season.
On Sunday, White completed his first regular season since coming out to his team. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound redshirt sophomore started the most games in goal this season for Northwestern, and the Wildcats (6-11 overall, 1-7 Big Ten) went 4-4 in games he started.
White has started eight of the last 10 games and will likely be the starting goalie when Northwestern opens the Big Ten tournament this week as the No. 8 seed.
“I’m definitely happier now,” White said. “I don’t really think I have the most interesting of stories, but I’m just trying to make it easier for other people to come out in the future.”
Robbie White, 21, is a redshirt sophomore on the Northwestern men’s soccer team. He’s an executive board member for Northwestern’s Engage program for athletes. His hometown is Glen Ellyn, Illinois. He can be reached on Instagram (@RobbieWhite_) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.
Nile Clark (senior, Miami men’s tennis) went 1-1 in doubles and 0-1 in singles at the ITA Southeast Regional in Atlanta on Oct. 13-15.
Xavier Colvin (redshirt sophomore, Butler football) recorded three tackles in the last two games as the Bulldogs (5-4 overall) went 1-1 the last two weeks.
Aidan Faminoff (sophomore, Florida State men’s diving) finished second on platform (350.25 points) and fifth on 1-meter springboard (323.7) during Saturday’s dual meet at Arizona State.
Bryce Fehringer (sophomore, South Dakota men’s swimming) competed in five events Oct. 20-21 at Kansas, and his best finish was fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 12.13 seconds).
Scott Frantz (redshirt sophomore, Kansas State football) started at left tackle each of the last two weeks as the Wildcats (4-4 overall) went 1-1. Kansas State’s Nov. 4 game at Texas Tech is scheduled to be broadcast on FS1 at noon ET.
Connor Griffin (junior, Fordham men’s swimming) opened his season Saturday by competing in three events at Boston University. He finished 13th in both the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.83) and 200 breaststroke (2:21.99) along with 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:05.39). Griffin did not compete in the first two meets of the season.
Hannah Griffiths Boston (senior, Portland women’s soccer) logged a team-high 10 shots over three games as the Pilots (5-12-1 overall) went 1-2 the last two weeks. Griffiths Boston was honored ahead of Saturday’s home finale, a 1-0 loss to Brigham Young, as one of the team’s three seniors.
Sonia Johnson (senior, DePaul women’s soccer) played in two games, both wins, the last two weeks as the Blue Demons (7-7-5 overall) went 2-1-1. DePaul’s season and Johnson’s career ended Sunday with a loss on penalty kicks to Providence in the Big East tournament.
Ayrton Kasemets (senior, Oakland men’s swimming) finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.48 seconds) and fourth in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.19) during Friday’s dual meet at Wayne State. Kasemets took second in the 100 breaststroke (57.5 seconds) and third in the 200 breaststroke (2:08.54) against IUPUI on Oct. 20.
John Kim (redshirt senior, VMI men’s swimming) competed in four events at Virginia Tech on Oct. 20, and his best finish was fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (52.3 seconds).
Alexis Lewandowski (junior, IUPUI women’s cross country) and Kelsey Tyler (senior, IUPUI women’s cross country) helped IUPUI take second at Saturday’s Horizon League Championships, the first year IUPUI’s been a member of the conference. In the 6-kilometer race, Tyler finished 17th (23:14.4) and Lewandowski took 57th (24:39.9) in a field of 103 runners.
Kennedy Lohman (sophomore, Texas women’s swimming) competed in four events Oct. 20-21 at Florida. Her best finish was fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:03.14).
Cory Moreno (senior, Old Dominion men’s diving) won the 3-meter springboard (319.55 points) and took second on 1-meter (273.25 points) against East Carolina on Oct. 21.
Anthony Musciano (sophomore, Drexel men’s diving) opened the season by finishing second on 1-meter springboard (258.2 points) and sixth on 3-meter (222.95) against LaSalle and Villanova on Oct. 20.
EJ Proctor (senior, Duke women’s soccer) made one save in Sunday’s 3-1 win against Boston College to open the ACC tournament. The No. 2-ranked Blue Devils (18-1 overall) have won 18 consecutive matches. On Oct. 26, Proctor recorded her ninth shutout of the season in goal as Duke beat Virginia 1-0 to win the ACC regular season title by going 10-0 in conference.
Elias Rieland (senior, Sacramento State men’s soccer) recorded one shot over four matches as the Hornets (8-8-2 overall) went 1-2-1 the last two weeks. Sacramento State earned the No. 3 seed in this week’s Big West tournament.
G Ryan (senior, Michigan women’s swimming) did not compete Oct. 20-21 at Louisville.
Cavender Salvadori (redshirt senior, William & Mary men’s cross country) made his comeback from a hip fracture that kept him sidelined the entire season until Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association Championships. He helped the Tribe win their 18th consecutive conference team title by finishing the 8-kilometer race in 30th (27:05). The race concludes his college cross country career.
Jack Thorne (junior, Northwestern men’s swimming) won the 100-yard backstroke (50.47 seconds) for the best finish of his three events Oct. 21 vs. Georgia Tech. Against Georgia on Oct. 20, he finished fourth in both the 100 backstroke (50.93 seconds) and 200 backstroke (1:51.54). On Saturday in a three-team home meet, Thorne swam to a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke (51.0 seconds) and a third place in the 200 backstroke (1:53.68).
Drew Davis (assistant coach, Creighton women’s volleyball) saw the No. 16-ranked Bluejays (18-5 overall, 11-1 Big East) go 4-0 the last two weeks.
Nunzio Esposto (diving coach, Duke men’s and women’s diving) helped men’s diver Teddy Zeng win the 3-meter springboard for the Blue Devils’ best diving result in a meet Oct. 20 against Penn State and North Carolina State.
James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) guided the Redhawks (9-14 overall, 5-5 WAC) to go 2-1 the last two weeks.
Patrick Jeffrey (diving coach, Stanford men and women) led women’s diver Haley Farnsworth to wins on 1- and 3-meter springboard, and he helped men’s diver Theodore Miclau win 3-meter against Utah on Oct. 20.
Shawn McLaughlin (assistant coach, Incarnate Word women’s volleyball) saw the Cardinals (5-14 overall, 4-8 Southland) go 1-2 the last two weeks.
Lowell McNicholas (assistant coach, Wisconsin men’s rowing) coached the championship four to a second-place finish and the championship eight took fourth at Sunday’s Princeton Chase. On Oct. 22, the Badgers’ championship eight took 15th of 26 teams with the championship four taking 18th of 19 teams at the Head of the Charles regatta.
Lee-J Mirasolo (assistant coach, Harvard women’s hockey) watched the Crimson win two of three games to open the season. The season started with a 4-1 win against Dartmouth on Oct. 20.
Jesse Moore (assistant coach, Northwestern women’s swimming) saw his team beat four teams in two days, Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats are 4-2 head-to-head against teams this season after opening with 167-126 loss to No. 4 Georgia on Oct. 20.
Chip Rogers (assistant coach, Miami (Ohio) women’s field hockey) ended the regular season with a 7-1 win against Ball State on Sunday. By beating Ball State, the Red Hawks (9-8 overall, 6-0 MAC) completed the program’s first undefeated conference season and captured its first conference title since 1981. Miami’s postseason starts Nov. 3.
Jessica Smith (assistant coach, Kansas State women’s soccer) saw the Wildcats (6-11-1 overall, 1-8 Big 12) end the season with a 2-1 loss to Iowa State on Friday.
Charley Sullivan (assistant coach, Temple women’s rowing) watched the Owls take 13th at the Head of the Charles regatta on Oct. 21. At the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta on Saturday, Temple was led by fourth-place finishes from the championship four and novice eight.
Noah Ratliff (junior, Mercyhurst men’s water polo) helped the Lakers (9-9 overall) win three games total Saturday and Sunday to close the regular season.
Tony Nicolosi (head coach, Cal State East Bay men’s and women’s cross country) guided his men’s team to a fourth-place finish and the women to ninth place at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Oct. 21.
Austin Olivares (assistant coach, Lindenwood swimming) saw the men’s and women’s teams both win a home quadrangular meet Oct. 21. The Lions had 12 total first-place finishes.
Chris Cassingham (senior, Mary Washington men’s swimming) swam four events Saturday against Barton, and his best finish was third place in both the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.02) and the 500 freestyle (5:12.56). Cassingham competed in two events against Randolph-Macon on Oct. 20, and his best finish was third place in the 1,000 freestyle (10:50.53).
Alec Donovan (redshirt sophomore, Centenary men’s cross country) did not race in Saturday’s Colonial States Athletic Conference championship meet due to a foot injury.
Lindsey Farrell (junior, McDaniel women’s soccer) scored the game’s first goal on the way to a 3-2 McDaniel win against Catholic on Oct. 18. The Green Terror (11-5-1 overall) went 1-1-1 the last two weeks to conclude the regular season. McDaniel begins the Centennial Conference Tournament this week.
Jason Hadley (junior, Mount Union men’s cross country) ran to a 75th-place finish (27:54.4), in a field of 141 runners, during Saturday’s 8-kilometer Ohio Athletic Conference Championships. He helped the Purple Raiders take second as a team.
Sam Johnson (sophomore, Whittier men’s soccer) started at defender in all four matches the last two weeks and recorded two shots total as the Poets (5-10 overall) went 2-2. Whittier ended the season Saturday with a 2-1 double overtime win against Cal Lutheran.
Taylor Reifert (junior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer) provided a goal and two assists to beat Caltech 5-0 on Oct. 21. Reifert started at midfield in all four games the last two weeks as the Sagehens (8-7-2 overall) went 2-2 to end the regular season. Pomona-Pitzer, seeded fourth, starts the SCIAC tournament this week.
Nick Vucovich (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s cross country) helped the Sagehens win the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship by finishing the 8-kilometer race in 13th (26:37.02). The victory gives Pomona-Pitzer its first conference title since 2005. Vucovich’s race earned him all-conference honors.
Maria Berrum (junior, Robert Morris women’s soccer) contributed two goals and an assist over the last two weeks as the Eagles (7-8-3 overall, 6-3-2 CCAC) went 3-0-1. She scored the only goal, in the 14th minute, during Saturday’s 1-0 win at Judson to end the regular season. Robert Morris starts the CCAC tournament this week as the No. 6 seed.
Kyle Kurdziolek (junior, St. Francis football) recorded five tackles in Saturday’s 30-28 loss to No. 10-ranked St. Xavier. St. Francis (3-5 overall, 2-1 MSFA) went 1-1 the last two weeks.
Darrion McAlister (senior, Marian football) helped the Knights (5-3 overall, 2-2 MSFA) go 1-1 the last two weeks.