Meet the UK’s first openly gay professional footballer, Jake Daniels! The 17-year-old is currently signed with Blackpool FC and has made his mark on the pitch becoming the top scorer at the Blackpool Academy with 30 goals.

Speaking to Sky News, Daniels says the time was right for him to open up to his family, friends, and teammates. “I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. I want people to know the real me. I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it (and) when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free, and be confident with it all.”

He adds: “For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer. I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.”

Daniels has received support from fellow footballers in the UK and around the world, lauding his bravery. He told Sky News: “Since I’ve come out to my family, my club, and my teammates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health. Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”

He added: “I first told my mum and my sister, who I live with. “Yeah, we already knew,” was how they reacted. Then we told my whole family and at this point, I was quite scared because I didn’t know how the older generation might react. I needn’t have worried. I’ve had so many messages saying, “we are proud and we are supportive.” It’s been amazing. I couldn’t have wished for it to go better.”

Daniels, decision to come out was praised by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William who is the Football Association President.

English footballer, Justin Fashanu came out as gay in the early nineties, he committed suicide in 1998.