Josh Cavallo has come out publicly as gay, the first active professional men’s soccer player in Australia’s A-League to be out.

In both a video and written statement, the Adelaide United player has broken ground for LGBTQ athletes in Australia.

“I’m tired of trying to perform at the best of [my] ability and to lead this double life,” Cavallo says in an emotional coming-out video. “It’s exhausting. It’s something I don’t want anyone to experience.”

Cavallo’s experience coming out to those people around him, including teammates, reinforces the messages of powerful support for LGBTQ athletes we saw in our recent Out In Sports study in North America.

“I thought that people would think of me differently when they found out, they would start treating me differently, they would start saying bad things about me or making fun of me,” Cavallo says in the video. “That’s not the case. If anything you’ll earn more respect from people.

“The response and support I’ve received, it’s immense. It’s starting to make the think, why have I been hiding this burden for so long.”

Adelaide United Head Coach Carl Veart was glowing in his support.

“Josh is a tremendous young man and has shown incredible courage to be one of very few professional sportsmen to be this brave,” Veart said. “I’m very proud of him. I have nothing but admiration and support for him, as do all the players and coaching staff.”

Previously active men’s professional soccer players have come out in other countries, including Justin Fashanu in England, and Robbie Rogers and Collin Martin in the United States. Andy Brennan previously came out in a lower Australian pro soccer league.

You can follow Joshua Cavallo on Instagram and on Twitter.