Greg McLean is the latest gay man to come out publicly in English soccer, now part of a slowly growing list that is showing the true acceptance at the heart of the sport.
McLean is a coach and club secretary at St Margaret’s Old Boys football club in Liverpool on the western coast of England. He recently talked with Sky Sports about coming out to his family and soon after quitting soccer for fear of how he would be accepted. When he decided to come out to the players in text messages to see if they would be comfortable playing for a gay man, the response was predictable:
“Every player texted back to tell him that his fears were unfounded, and that he’d be welcome to return to the club when he was ready - something he did soon after,” according to Sky Sports.
He’s now back with the team and sharing his story of acceptance as a gay man in soccer in hopes of inspiring other LGBTQ people in sports to be their true selves, particularly in the midst of the Rainbow Laces campaign.
“I feel it’s an important subject to share and to talk about - even if my story resonates deeply with just one person, it’s worth doing,” he told Sky Sports. “But I’ve already had so many messages that I know it’s gone much further than that.”
While they are still few and far between, we’ve now seen a handful of men come out publicly in English soccer, namely out gay soccer player Liam Davis, referee Ryan Atkin, executive Hugo Schecter and now a coach in McLean. These men are finally showing people across English soccer what we in the United States have seen for years, thanks to athletes in high school and college sports: Athletes are far more accepting than we give them credit for.
Read everything McLean had to say about his experience at Sky Sports.