Openly gay footballer Josh Cavallo says it’s a “wonderful feeling” to know his experience has helped inspire Blackpool striker Jake Daniels to come out.
Daniels, 11, announced on Monday that he was gay, becoming the first active male professional footballer in Britain in 32 years.
Daniels admitted that the example of Adelaide United player Cavallo, among others, gave him the courage to go public with his sexuality.
Cavallo, who came out last year, told The Guardian: “I want to pause and take a moment to take note of Jake’s announcement and say how proud I am of his courage.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to know that my story has helped guide Jake to his true self.
“It is touching to see how many millions of people around the world have been influenced and inspired by my story and to see how it has helped advance world football at all levels is fantastic. This world and football has a place for everyone. Love will always win.”
No current male professional in the UK has come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990, underscoring the importance, importance and bravery of Daniel’s testimony.
He admitted it was a “step into the unknown” to make the announcement, but said the example of Cavallo and Olympic diving champion Tom Daley helped him.
“The topic of being gay, bi or queer is still taboo in men’s football. I think it comes down to how many footballers want to be known for their masculinity,” he told Sky Sports News.
“And people see being gay as weak, something to be teased for on the football field.
“The way I see it, I’m playing football and they’re yelling at me, but they’re paying for me to play football and I’m living my life and making money from it.
“So scream what you want, it won’t make a difference.”