Czech soccer player Jakub Jankto announced on Monday that he is gay in a video posted to social media, becoming one of only a few openly out active international men’s players.
“Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses, I have a family, I have my friends,” the 27-year-old midfielder said in the video, adding, “I have a job, which I have been doing it as best as I can for years with seriousness, professionalism, and passion. Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom — without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.”
“I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself,” the star said in what appears to be his first and only tweet.
— Jakub Jankto (@jakubjanktojr) February 13, 2023
The video closes with on-screen text that clarifies the video is not “entertainment,” but rather that “the purpose of this video is to encourage others.”
The support immediately flowed in on Twitter, with FIFA writing, “We’re all with you, Jakub. Football is for everyone.”
We’re all with you, Jakub. Football is for everyone 🏳️🌈❤️
— FIFA (@FIFAcom) February 13, 2023
AC Sparta Prague, where Jankto is currently a player, expressed their support as well, by quote tweeting his video alongside lyrics from the Metallica song “Nothing Else Matters.”
Australia’s Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo became the only openly gay player in a top-tier men’s professional league when he came out in 2021.
In 2022, Jake Daniels, of English club Blackpool, became the first active male professional soccer player in Britain to come out publicly since 1990, according to Sky News.