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There are openly gay pro soccer players, but they exist only in a video game

Football Manager 2018 makes a point.

Football Manager 2018 allows for an openly gay player.

There actually is an openly gay male pro soccer player, even though he exists only in the digital realm.

The video game Football Manager 2018 has a cool new feature in which one of your fictional players comes out openly as gay. The game’s developer told the BBC that’s the idea was to mimic every situation someone managing a soccer team could encounter.

"Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers," Miles Jacobson, the game's director, told BBC Sport.

"We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don't want to come out.

"I find it weird that it's still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn't a big deal and can be a positive thing.

"I just think it's crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can't be themselves."

My favorite part of this new feature is that your team actually becomes more valuable, as Polygon notes.

How does this affect Football Manager 2018? Other than the notation in the news feed, a club with a player who has come out will see a slight boost to its revenue, which is implied to be the support of an LGBT community either newly interested in the sport or switching its club allegiance.

With the retirement of Robbie Rogers from the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, there are no openly gay pro soccer players. There has never been an openly gay active player in the English Premier League or any other major European soccer league.

The decision to include a fictional gay player was quickly noticed by gamers and that surprised Jacobson, who tweeted:

Of course, there were the usual bigots one finds on Twitter, but Jacobson said the positive comments outweighed the negative. There is also a disclaimer that reflects the political realities in many countries.

We also had to take some legal advice, because in some countries that are less forward thinking than the UK, it is still illegal to be gay. In those cases we have simply respected their laws, so if a player is based in one of those countries, the player won't come out.

Since Football Manager can be played 100 years into the future, it might be possible to eventually have a team entirely composed of gay players. Then maybe the wrinkle will be that one of your players has come out as straight.