Watch: Post-Closet, Aussie Soccer Star Josh Cavallo All Smiles

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday October 28, 2021
Originally published on October 28, 2021

Australian soccer star Josh Cavallo made headlines and sparked global excitement when he came out on Oct. 27. A day later, he told the BBC that he's "never smiled so much" now that he's "opened the real book of Josh Cavallo."

"Today I woke up and I've closed that old book and opened the real book of Josh Cavallo," the 21-year-old midfielder, who plays for Adelaide United, told BBC Breakfast, UK newspaper The Independent reported.

"I never smiled this much in my life, and I had the best sleep last night knowing that I could finally be myself, and not lead a life of lies to the people I care about the most," the footballer enthused. (Watch the clip embedded in the BBC Breakfast tweet below.)

"My cheeks are very sore today but it is a good thing to have," Cavallo added.

"Cavallo announced the news in a social media post on Wednesday ahead of the forthcoming A-League season," the Independent said.

The Associated Press reported that Cavallo's coming out message was direct. "There's something personal that I need to share with everyone: I'm a footballer, and I am gay."

AP added that "Cavallo said he's the first player to come out while still playing in Australia's top-flight men's soccer competition. It's a rarity across the globe in men's sport, something Cavallo wants to change."

Voicing fears that many closeted young professionals might sympathize with, Cavallo went on to say, "I was ashamed I'd never be able to do what I love, and be gay."

"All I want to do is play football and be treated equally," Cavallo said. "I'm tired of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life. It's exhausting. It's something that I don't want anyone to experience."

But, Cavallo added, he's found those fears to be unfounded. "If anything, you earn more respect from people" after forsaking the closet, he said. "Coming out to my loved ones, my peers, my friends, my teammates, my coaches has been incredible."

This year has seen a remarkable number of athletes come out. In relating the positive nature of his experience, Cavallo was repeating something other newly out pro athletes have also said.

After announcing he is gay in an Instagram video last June, NFL player Carl Nassib followed up by noting that he had only gotten "love and support" from his teammates on the Las Vegas Raiders.

Bryan Ruby, the first pro baseball player to come out while still active, wrote in a subsequent op-ed that he had "received more messages of support in one day than I have in my entire life."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.