Out Aussie Soccer Star Josh Cavallo 'Proud' He Inspired Newly Out Jake Daniels

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 17, 2022

Josh Cavallo
Josh Cavallo  (Source:Associated Press)

Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo — who was the only openly gay male soccer pro until British player Jake Daniels came out — praised the young athlete's courage and spoke of pride in being a role model, UK newspaper the Daily Mail said.

"As myself and Adelaide United prepare for the A-League semi-final, I want to stop and take a moment to acknowledge Jake's announcement and say how very proud I am for his bravery," the Guardian quoted Cavallo as saying. "It's a wonderful feeling knowing that my story has helped guide Jake to be his true self."

Moreover, Cavallo said, "It's touching to see the millions of people that my story has impacted and inspired around the world, and to see it help evolve the world game at all levels, is fantastic."

"This world and the game of football has a place for everyone. Love will always win."

"Daniels, 17, said he had been inspired by the Adelaide United player, who made global headlines in October when he became the only openly gay man playing top-flight professional football anywhere in the world," the Guardian said.

"At the time, Cavallo said he suspected there were other players 'living in silence,' but until Daniels's landmark revelation, no other gay men had felt comfortable enough to go public with their sexuality."

Rumors even abounded that one unnamed player was seeking therapy to deal with the stress of the closet.

Daniels made his announcement on Monday, May 16.

Calling his coming out "a step into the unknown," Daniels admitted that "For a long time I've thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be a professional footballer. I asked myself if I should wait until I've retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out."

Indeed, the Guardian recounted, several players have done exactly that: come out only after retirement.

"There have been only a handful of openly gay male players, and none besides Daniels and Cavallo have come out while actively playing top-flight football," the Guardian said. "Thomas Hitzlsperger of Germany is arguably the most high profile, although, like the American former Leeds player Robbie Rogers, he waited until after retirement to reveal his sexuality publicly."

However, The Guardian recalled, "In 2019, the former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan became Australia's first professional male footballer to come out while still playing."

Daniels said he hoped to be an inspiration to others, as Cavallo was to him. "I am hoping that by coming out, I can be a role model, to help others come out if they want to," the Daily Mail quoted the athlete as saying.

"I am only 17 but I am clear that this is what I want to do and if, by me coming out, other people look at me and feel maybe they can do it as well, that would be brilliant.... I hate knowing people are in the same situation I was in. If a Premier League footballer does come out that would be amazing."

Daniels is the first British soccer player to come out while actively playing since Justin Fashanu came out in 1990, the Daily Mail recalled. Tragically, Fashanu lost his life to suicide eight years later.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.