Jake Daniels – The UK’s first openly gay footballer since 1990

Jake Daniels, a forward for England’s Blackpool Football Club, came out as gay on Monday 16th May, becoming the UK’s only active professional soccer player and the first to come out in 30 years. The importance here is that this is a real milestone towards the beginning of the end of homophobia in sport, and in particular football.

Kindness, wellbeing and positive change

Many celebrities, the FA and not forgetting, our humble selves here at Street Soccer, have been championing kindness, wellbeing, and positive change since the start. THIS news, and change, is so welcomed by me. I came out in 2001 and whilst I was not in the public eye as much as Jake is, the entire process was utterly daunting, and looking back, I recognise the huge uphill struggle I had. It was a time where compassion for being gay was still very low in society and the news. Hiding the real me, was painful and cruel but it was a necessary evil at that time. That’s quote shocking to admit in hindsight.

So, this is one of the many reasons I’m so thrilled with the news that whilst Jake has also been hiding who he really is he feels comfortable, supported and ‘ready to come and be himself’. Secondly, I know how much being gay can affect the appointment of many key brand sponsorships sadly, a hateful surge on social media and negative backlash from football fans when playing on the pitch.

Our CMO Kevin Tewis Allen pictured with his husband Spencer and their son Sawyer

Positive perceptions

It really is a step into the unknown but such a rewarding, positive and brave one, that I can absolutely see will really resonate with others who are considering coming out. This move will encourage the future shape of ‘positive’ perceptions of football professionals to come forward (that’s a real whopper of a statement), share their own stories, and start the movement in a safer, more respectful, and loving way.

Jake has been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, and wants to actively encourage the pathway forwards.

From all of the team at Street Soccer, we wish Jake all the very best in his incredible career ahead.

Hear more from Jake

Watch Jake’s interview on Sky Sports HERE

Read Jake’s message on the official Blackpool website HERE

Related News Articles

My Tribute to Michael Conway MBE

I will never forget the first time I met Michael. I had piloted a charitable project in East London, named the ‘Street Soccer Academy’ to help vulnerable young people who were experiencing homelessness.

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