Josh Cavallo has shared the advice he’s given to other gay footballers who got in touch with him after he came out last month.
The Adelaide United left-back came out as gay on social media last month.
He’s the world’s only openly gay active top-flight male soccer player, and his moving announcement made global headlines.
The 21-year-old received a flood of messages of support, including from some of the world’s highest profile players.
But among them were some from other pro footballers going through the same thing as him, Cavallo told The Guardian.
“There are people who have reached out to me in confidentiality,” he said.
“They’ve said, ‘I’m struggling with the same thing Josh,’ and they’re professional footballers too.
“And look, it’s something you can’t rush.
“[I say] you want to be yourself, and at the end of the day I wasn’t happy and now look at me, I’m honestly on top of the world.
“They like the sound of that.
“They say, ‘Josh, I haven’t experienced that before and I want to.’
“And I say, ‘It’s in your hands, it’s your journey and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.’
“I didn’t think there was. But there definitely is.”
Josh Cavallo opens up gay player who mentored him
Josh Cavallo also said the support he’d received from another gay soccer player, Thomas Beattie, was “crucial”.
The former English player came out after he retired from the sport. Cavallo said he’d reached out to Beattie on social media earlier this year.
Cavallo told the Herald Sun Beattie explained to him that he could help other young queer people struggling.
“He said to me, ‘Josh, you can have both, you can change the world, you can do this.’ He opened my eyes to doing this,” he said.
“I want to help change or save someone’s life. There could be someone on the opposite side of the world dealing with the exact same pain as what me and Tommy went through.
“It could lead to suicide or take them to dark places.
“But I want to share the positive side of that. Look at the reaction I’ve gotten and how happy everyone is from that.”
Josh Cavallo said he could “guarantee” sporting codes have lost talented gay players who’d chosen to leave rather than come out.
“I can guarantee you there’s people that have been very talented footballers, or in any sport, that have stopped playing because they feel that they’re going to get judged,” he said.
“That’s wasted talent, that could have been like the next Messi or Ronaldo.”
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