Anton Hysen, a 20-year-old professional soccer player in Sweden, came out in an interview with Sweden’s Offside magazine.
Hysen is the son of famed Swedish player Glenn Hysen, a former defender for Liverpool FC and Anton’s current coach at Utsiktens BK of the Swedish second division. Both of his brothers are professional soccer players as well.
Hysen told Offside:
I want to prove that there is no big deal if I’m a footballer and also gay. If I perform as a footballer, then I do not think it matters if I like men or women.
There will always be people who can’t tolerate gay people, just like there are people who can’t tolerate immigrants. A club might be interested in me and then the coach might change his mind if he finds out I’m gay, but that is his problem not mine.
There are no openly gay soccer players in any professional divisions across Europe. To this, Hysen added:
“It’s totally sick when you think about it. It’s so f****d up, everything. Where the hell is everyone else?”
As far as we can tell, Hysen is the only openly gay professional soccer player in Europe. If not, he is definitely the highest profile openly gay player.
Homophobia has long been a problem in European soccer. The last professional soccer player to come out while still playing was Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1991 and tragically took his own life seven years later.