MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin released a statement via his personal Twitter account coming out as the second openly-gay player in MLS history. Martin’s announcement comes during Pride Month and was made a few hours before the Loons will host Dallas in what will be the team’s fifth annual Pride Match.
Tonight my team, @MNUFC , is having their Pride night. It's an important night for me — I'll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. #soccerforall pic.twitter.com/cOJQXfrBiv
— Collin Martin (@martcw12) June 29, 2018
Martin’s full statement read:
“Tonight my team, Minnesota United, is having their Pride night. It’s an important night for me — I’ll be announcing for the first time publicly that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates. 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.”
Former Columbus Crew and Los Angeles Galaxy winger and fullback Robbie Rogers was the first player in league history to publicly come out, doing so in February 2013. Rogers joined the Galaxy in May, spending three seasons with the club before a series of injuries caused him to miss the entire 2017 campaign and ultimately brought about his retirement.
Following Rogers’ lead, Martin is now Major League Soccer’s second openly gay athlete.
Martin has worked with both Athlete Ally and Playing for Pride prior to today’s announcement. The former is an organization focused on educating athletic communities on obstacles to inclusion faced by LGBTQ athletes, and how organizations can build inclusive communities. The latter is an initiative started by North Carolina FC midfielder Austin da Luz in 2017 that raises money for LGBTQ causes based on the on-field accomplishments of participating soccer players (both professional and amateur) during Pride Month: $5 per game played, $4 per assist, and $6 per goal. Playing for Pride has partnered with Athlete Ally for 2018 Pride.
Martin has made six appearances and three starts for the Loons this season, logging 256 minutes and an assist, and is expected to be part of Minnesota’s 18-man game-day squad when Minnesota hosts Dallas at 7 tonight.