One of the few openly gay male footballers, Zander Murray, has announced his impending retirement.
Scottish footballer (or soccer player to some) Zander Murray will retire at the end of this season.
Zander made headlines across the world when he came out as gay in 2022.
Following his coming out, he signed for Bonnyrigg Rose in January to fulfil his dream of playing in the Scottish Professional Football League.
However, since then he has returned to his original club Gala Fairydean Rovers where he will see out the rest of his career.
He told the BBC that he is happy to finish his career in a club that was so supportive of him coming out.
“I could just be myself. Not just on the pitch, but in the dressing room. I could just be myself and it was good that all my sort of initial fears about being in the dressing room again, how that was going to be scary, it was nothing,” he said.
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It’s been a big year since his announcement. He has taken part in a BBC Scotland documentary, was an ambassador for the Gay Games in Hong Kong and worked with the charity Stonewall.
He told the BBC his highlight though was leading the march at Edinburgh Pride.
“It was overwhelming to be able to lead something so amazing. It was monumental and something I’d been so afraid of for years,” he said.
“I had struggled for years not knowing where I fitted in, especially playing football. I never knew where I stood with people. So I just felt seeing all those happy, smiling faces that it’s beautiful to feel you are part of something.”
For Zander, his future is yet to be determined but he has an interest in coaching as well as further charity and advocacy work.
“Fifteen months ago I was scared. Now I am excited. I can see a path. There’s a space for me in this area. I always wanted to play football and I worried about what I would find in life that would give me that same buzz but I have found it,” he said.
Remaining out players
His retirement leaves only five male openly gay athletes at the professional or semi-professional level.
Australian Josh Cavallo plays for A-League side Adelaide United while Andy Brennan is with Victorian league side South Melbourne FC.
Elsewhere, Jake Daniels is with Blackpool FC in the UK, Czech Jakub Jankto plays for Italian Serie A side Cagliari and American Collin Martin plays for North Carolina FC.
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