Jake Daniels is bravely coming out. On Monday (May 16), the 17-year-old Blackpool player became the first active openly gay professional male soccer player in the UK since 1990. Click inside to read more… “This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch,” Jake wrote in a statement shared to the Blackpool’s website. “I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my team-mates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup.” “But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am.
I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself,” Jake continued. “It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.” He continued, “In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my Club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first.
I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.” Jake concluded his statement saying that he hopes to be a role model to others that are afraid to come out. “I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in.