YESTERDAY represented a huge day for progression towards the LGTQ+ community in football.
On Monday Blackpool's Jake Daniel's became the first footballer since Justin Fashanu in 1990 to come out as gay in football.
The 17-year-old has broken a taboo barrier that existed in English football and said “Now is the time to do it,”
I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. I want people to know the real me.”
The statement from Blackpool's official account also read "This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch."
— Blackpool FC (@BlackpoolFC) May 16, 2022
"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."
Daniels bravery has received a wave of unanimous support from members of the football family and others around the globe.
England captain Harry Kane said "Massive credit to you @Jake_Daniels11 and the way your friends, family, club, and captain have supported you. Football should be welcoming for everyone."
Chelsea's Swedish defender Magdalena Eriksson echoed Kane's support by saying: "Coming out takes strength and bravery and doing so in the public arena isn't easy. The fact that Jake scored four goals after coming out to his family shows perfectly how liberating it is to be your true self. Congratulations" @Jake_Daniels11. Feeling so happy for you today
Former Irish international Richard Keogh said: “Very proud of you for this brave statement @Jake_Daniels11 . You have our full support.”
The former United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: “Massive respect for this brave decision. Let’s all help create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ people in football and beyond!”
Born in Bispham, near Blackpool, Daniels made his way up through the club’s youth ranks before signing a senior contract with the club this year.
He made his debut this month as a substitute in a Championship fixture against Peterborough.
Daniels revealed that, the day after coming out to his family, he had played for the club in a youth fixture against Accrington Stanley. “I scored four goals,” he said, “so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was.”
— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 16, 2022