Jake Daniels, a 17-year-old player for Championship side Blackpool, has become the first active footballer in the UK and Europe to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu did so in 1990.
The teenager admitted that it took him a lot of time to come to the decision of publicly coming out, but now finally feels confident and happy with himself after having done so.
“Now is the right time to do it. I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. I want people to know the real me,” Daniels told SkySports.
“I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all.”
Daniels stated that he wasn’t ready to come out when he was younger but now feels confident to express who he really is.
“I wasn’t ready and it was a struggle but I just don’t want to lie any more,” he said.
“For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, 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.
“However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to.
“Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my team-mates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health.
“Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”