Josh Cavallo broke headlines last October when he publicly came out as gay, becoming the only current professional top-flight footballer to do so.

The Adelaide United player hopes that this courageous act will help eradicate the stigma surrounding gay men in football, and that he can serve as a positive role model for young men and women who feel ostracized from their sport as a result of their sexuality.

Speaking exclusively to UCFB as part of the 2022 Melbourne Summit, the Australian Youth International said: “I had the choice; I could be that difference for someone that I didn’t have growing up and I know how important that was for me to have someone like that. I’m more than excited and happy to do this for people around the world, because it’s people worldwide that struggle with this problem.”

While several players have improved representation of gay men in football by coming out after they retired, such as Thomas Hitzlsperger, it is a particularly powerful statement to do so as a current player, giving fans a figure on the pitch, at the heart of the game, to look up to and represent the LGBTQ+ community.

Cavallo knew that the moment he came out in the public eye his life would change irrevocably – but admits he wasn’t prepared for the blistering response it evoked worldwide. Overwhelming messages of support poured in from all continents, so much so that they temporarily broke Cavallo’s Instagram page.

The central midfielder added: “It’s great to see the acknowledgement I get from messages from people that reach out, and say you’ve helped me get through the day, or you’ve helped my daughter or my son or my grandson.”

Despite being only 22 years old, Cavallo hopes that he can set a long overdue precedent in the sport, and normalize coming out to the point where it doesn’t always invoke such an explosive reaction within the media, but becomes a recognized and respected part of modern day football.  

He finished: “It’s really nice and touching to get messages showing I’ve made a difference.”