Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin announced Friday that he will come out to the public as gay, becoming the only publicly gay male athlete active in the five major professional leagues.
Martin released a personal message on Twitter revealing that he will share the news for the first time to the public Friday during Minnesota United's Pride Night, although many of his teammates were already aware of his sexuality.
"I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates," Martin wrote in a statement. "I have played Major League Soccer for 6 seasons: 4 seasons with DC United and 2 seasons with Minnesota United. Today, I'm proud that my entire team and the management of Minnesota United know that I am gay.
"I have received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer and that has made the decision to come out publicly that much easier. As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am.
"In light of my experience as a professional athlete, I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly. June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man."
The team will wear jerseys with rainbow numbers as they celebrate Pride Night in Friday's game against FC Dallas.
"We admire Collin's courage, and are proud of him and of the support from the soccer community," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement, via MLSsoccer.com.
Minnesota's Pride Night is one of many as MLS hopes to bring the "Soccer For All" mantra to all of the league's clubs during the month of June.