“I feel that at this moment I am ready to come out of the closet”: Jake Daniels is the first footballer to declare himself gay at 17 | People |

English soccer player Jake Daniels became the first active footballer to come out as openly gay, a revelation that earned praise across the footballing world and on social media.

The 17-year-old marked the history of sport in England. The Blackpool player, a team from the English second division, made the announcement through a statement that was applauded by great football figures.

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Who is Jake Daniels? He is the first footballer to come out as gay at the age of 17

Born in Bispham, a town on the Lancashire coast, England, the midfielder has been playing for Blackpool’s affiliate since he was seven years old. Since last year he is in the U18 category (under 18) of the English team scoring 30 goals.

This year on February 25 he signed his first professional contract to join the ranks of Northern Premier League side Bamber Bridge on loan on March 26 for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season. This league is the second division of England’s top league, the Premier League.

This year he also made his debut on May 7 with the Blackpool big team in a match where the team lost 5-0 to Peterborough United. He came on as a substitute in the 81st minute.

Daniels is the only UK male professional footballer to publicly come out as gay and the first since Justin Fashanu in 1990, who committed suicide eight years later over homophobic insults and attacks he received.

“This season has been fantastic for me on the pitch. I played my first game as a professional, I have scored 30 goals with the reserve team, I have signed my first professional contract,” the player said in a publication published on the club’s website.

“But off the pitch I have hidden who I really am. All my life I’ve known I was gay and I feel like right now I’m ready to come out and be myself,” he continued.

The young man assured that the soccer player Josh Cavallo; the manager of the English team Thetford Town, Matt Morton; and diver Tom Daley “helped him out”, a decision that was praised by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the president of the FA (The Football Association), Prince William and England’s star footballer, Harry Kane.

Gary Lineker Bets “Many, Many Others Will Follow”

Another of those who did not hesitate to applaud Jake Daniels’ decision was the remembered captain of the English national team and considered one of the best strikers of the 1980s, Gary Lineker, wrote the Daily Mail.

“He’s going down a path that many, many others will follow, they’ve probably just been waiting to see how it turns out for whoever comes first. I think once they see that the overwhelming majority of people will be more than accepting, others will follow his example,” Lineker told BBC Breakfast.

And he predicted a future without criticism and without discrimination. “I think it will be massively accepted. Not only in his own locker room, but also in the players he plays against. I think, in general, the dressing rooms would not think about that. They will consider whether you are a good footballer or not. That’s all that matters”. (AND)

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