Minnesota United's Collin Martin publicly comes out as gay ahead of Pride match

Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin publicly came out as gay Friday ahead of the team’s Pride Night match against FC Dallas. 

The 23-year-old is the only openly gay male athlete active in any of the U.S.'s five major professional sports leagues, according to ESPN,

Martin wrote on Twitter that he has been out as a gay man to his family and friends, including many of his teammates, for several years. At the team's Pride match Friday night, He says he will be announcing for the first time publicly that he is an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. 

“Today, I’m proud that my entire team and management of Minnesota United know that I am gay,” Martin wrote. 

Martin said he has received nothing but kindness and acceptance from the league, making his decision to come out publicly much easier. He also thanked his teammates for their “unconditional support for who I am” 

“In light of my experience as a professional athlete, I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professional or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly,” he said. 

Friday is the United's fifth annual Pride Night and players will be sporting jerseys with rainbow numbers. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium.