The 17-year-old soccer player came out as gay after kick-starting his professional career earlier this month.
Jake Daniels began playing with Blackpool FC after playing for the Blackpool youth team. He came out as gay in a statement shared on the Blackpool official website. “I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself,” said Daniels.
“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.”
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Daniels is the U.K.’s first active soccer player to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.
The Soccer Player’s Support System
Daniels also wrote how grateful he is for the support he has already received from his peers.
“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 proactive in putting my interests and welfare first. I have also confided in my teammates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.”
He told Sky Sports News it is a “massive relief” to finally live his truth. It’s even affected the way he plays on the field.
“The day after we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was.”
“The day after we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was.” pic.twitter.com/xG0Nu2qcd9
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 16, 2022
Jake Daniels on Driving Change
“I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this.
“There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.
“You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.”