Footballer Josh Cavallo ‘feels wonderful’ after helping ‘guide’ gay UK pro Jake Daniels

Blackpool footballer Jack Daniels sitting in a changing room

Josh Cavallo has said he is “proud” of Jake Daniels’ bravery after he became the UK’s first pro male footballer to come out in 32 years.

Australian footballer Cavallo, who made headlines after he came out publicly as gay in October 2021, said that it’s a “wonderful feeling” to have helped Daniels to make the decision to come out after he did in 2021.

Blackpool player Daniels, 17, told Sky Sports when he came out on Monday (16 May) that he initially thought he should “wait until I’ve retired to come out”, but after telling his family about his sexuality he felt a “weight off the shoulders”.

Daniels said he hoped that, by coming out, he can “be a role model” and help “others come out if they want to”. 

He added: “I am only 17 but I am clear that this is what I want to do and if, by me coming out, other people look at me and feel maybe they can do it as well, that would be brilliant.

“If they think this kid is brave enough do this, I will be able to do it too.”

Cavello told The Guardian after Daniels’ announcement: “As myself and Adelaide United prepare for the A-League semi-final, I want to stop and take a moment to acknowledge Jake’s announcement and say how very proud I am for his bravery.

“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that my story has helped guide Jake to be his true self.

“It’s touching to see the millions of people that my story has impacted and inspired around the world, and to see it help evolve the world game at all levels, is fantastic. This world and the game of football has a place for everyone. Love will always win.”

Many other footballers have heaped praise on Jake Daniels’ bravery in coming out as gay.

Captain of the England football team, Harry Kane, congratulated Daniels on Twitter, saying “football should be welcoming for everyone”.

“Massive credit to you and the way your friends, family, club and captain and supported you,” he added.

Gary Neville, former Manchester United player, told Sky Sports: “What he’s [Daniels] just done tonight takes incredible courage. We’ve both lived in a dressing room for many years where that would seem like the unthinkable, to basically announce that you are gay… I can imagine how difficult that’s been.

“It’s a day of great importance for Jake and his family but also I think for English football, it will go down in history. It’s a big, big moment for football players.”

Neville added that 15 years ago when he was on the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) management committee “we didn’t have a player comfortable enough to be able to come out”.

He added that “the game’s not dealt with this issue well at all” and LGBTQ+ fan groups have been critical to change fans’ attitudes towards sexuality.

Daniels, who plays forward for Blackpool, is the first professional player in British men’s football to come out publicly since Justin Fashanu in 1990. Fashanu was the UK’s first professional footballer to come out as gay, but his career was cruelly cut short by homophobia before he took his own life.