High-profile Dutch footballers announce appearance at Amsterdam pride

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Former Dutch national team, and Ipswich Town footballer Martjin Reuser has said he will be among other high-profile Dutch footballers to join in the parade at Amsterdam Pride next weekend.

The players will be on a boat organised by the Dutch FA, the KNVB, which will take part in the annual parade along Amsterdam’s canals in support of acceptance of gay people in professional football.

Reuser said to TWTD that he and other players wanted to make an impression by their appearance in the parade, noting the expected attendance of the head coach of the Dutch national team, Louis Van Gaal, and players Pierre Van Hooijdonk and Patrick Kluivert.

Reuser said: “We were called last week and they asked us if we wanted to make a statement and join in on the Dutch FA boat.

“The most prominent man on the boat is Louis Van Gaal, the head coach of the Dutch national team.

“I think Pierre Van Hooijdonk and Patrick Kluivert will also be there and I’m joining in as well because I don’t mind if you are gay or lesbian or whatever. As long as you respect each other, what’s the deal?”

Other players on the boat will include Ronald de Boer, Aron Winter, Regi Blinker, Bryan Roy and Michael Mols.

Reuser, 38, retired from playing three years ago, and after a long career reflected in the interview on the fact that he had never player alongside an openly gay player.

He said: “To be honest, I’ve played with a lot of football players and I’ve never played with a gay colleague or at least not someone I know of or had any suspicions about.

“Maybe it’s because if you are in the dressing room you make a lot of jokes about women and subjects like that that maybe it’s difficult to come out of the closet.”

Going on to say that he did not think the majority of players would have an issue, he said: “I don’t think so. I will be on the boat because I don’t have any problem with it and hopefully that makes people aware, or football players aware, that no matter who you are, black, white or gay, you’re one of the guys, and I want show that to Holland and to the world.”

Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers, came out as gay in February, and became one of very few openly gay professional footballers to come out and continue playing, when he joined LA Galaxy shortly afterwards.

After going public about his sexuality in February, Rogers briefly announced his retirement from the game, but he has since returned to professional football and now plays for Los Angeles Galaxy.

Senior members of the government of the Netherlands took part in the annual Amsterdam Pride celebrations for the first time back in 2008. The parade normally attracts around half a million revellers.