American Pro Soccer Player David Testo: I’m Gay

David Testo, an American soccer player who recently playedfor the Montreal Impact, which joins Major League Soccer next year, and a former MLS player with the Columbus Crew, has come out of the closet in an interview with the French Canadian division of Radio Canada, Outsports reports:

Testo(Said Testo), loosely translated from a French report:

I’m gay, I’m gay. I did not choose. It’s just part of who I am. And it has nothing to do with the talent of a soccer player. You can be both an excellent soccer player and being gay. …

I really regret not having said publicly earlier. I fought with it all my life, my whole career. Living the life of a professional athlete and being gay is incredibly difficult. It is like wearing a secret…It saps all your energy…in addition to having to perform, having to play.

Outsports writes: "Testo is the first former MLS player, and the first American pro soccer player, to come out of the closet. He also has the potential to finally break the lack of out active pro athletes in the big five leagues. While he isn’t with an MLS team right now, he is not retired. What’s interesting is that his team as of a month ago, the Montreal Impact, are joining MLS next season…yet they dropped Testo after four years. Disappointing timing."

Here's Radio-Canada's story.


  1. Chuck Mielke says

    I’m not any kind of sports fan, but I’m all in favor of sports celebrities coming out. Frankly, I’m tired of my family’s derisive responses when I tell them of famous gay people. Too many people still think that gay is a rare aberration and that no historical personages of any note were gay. The more visible we are, in the aspect of those in the public eye, the more easily acceptance will be won for all of us.

  2. anon says

    I would not put professional soccer in the same category as (American) football, baseball or (if it ever gets going this season) basketball here in North America. It’s not even on par with Hockey. However, the more the merrier.

  3. endo says

    @Anon: You are grossly misinformed. Major League Soccer has already overtaken hockey as the 4th most popular sports league in the US, and the average attendance at MLS games is higher than the average attendance for both basketball and hockey (to be fair, soccer stadiums are bigger).

  4. WebHybrid says

    Urging people to follow the link in ANON2’s post: a transcript really can’t do this thoughtful young man’s interview justice.

    Occupation notwithstanding, he really expresses it all when it comes to the horrible, insufferable paranoia of living inside a closet.

    This sort of thing – one admirable man after another coming out even though he’s engaged in a public ‘masculine’ career – is something I have been waiting for and encouraging all my six-decade life. Today a soccer player, last month a soldier, next week ____?____: heartfelt revelations like this man’s swing an axe at the long-fossilized paradigm in which a Matthew Shepard gets murdered or a Tyler Clementi leaps from the George Washington Bridge.

  5. TommyOC says

    To be fair, all of the USL/NASL teams (Div 2 to MLS’ Div 1) to be awarded an MLS franchise traditionally gut their rosters prior to making the move.

    Testo’s contract expired in October. Whether he’s not part of Montreal’s future plans or not, Montreal was not in a good position to renew his contract at this time even if they wanted to.

    Two reason for this. First, the current team and the MLS franchise, while owned by the same people, are two different teams – two different legal entities. New contracts must be entered into prior to the start of Montreal’s 2012 MLS season. On top of this, MLS owns the players’ contracts – so you gotta sign a brand-new one with the league, not the team.

    Second, new franchises get to take part in the Expansion Draft. Here they get to pick and choose players from existing teams to be transferred to them. Existing teams can “protect” a set number of players (their key pieces), but everyone else is up for grabs.

    Testo may find himself with a phone call early next year if Montreal doesn’t get a good midfielder deal out of the Expansion Draft.

    I hope he does.

  6. Brian in Texas says

    @ ENDO

    I have a very hard time believing that MLS game attendance is higher than NBA. I’d have to see some sources to believe that. I live in a major city, Houston, and our MLS team the Dynamo currently play in a small old college football stadium. (They are in the process of having their own stadium built.)

    You have to remember that pro sports are now more of a television product than a live event. TV ratings say more about the popularity of a sport than fan attendance which is more so tied to how well the particular team in a particular city is doing that year.

  7. endo says

    Brian, why do you think all these franchises like the Dynamo are building stadiums? The numbers were widely reported in the sports media…

    MLS 17,872
    NBA 17,323
    NHL 17,132

    Note that it’s average attendance… Seattle Sounders frequently sell out nearly 40,000 seats.

  8. AlexD says

    When I lived in DC and would attend a United game or two, they were held at RFK Stadium where the Redskins used to play and the stadium would be full. I don’t know if that is still the case, but it would not surprise me if live attendance for soccer exceeds basketball. Hell, I’d think hockey probably comes close to exceeding basketball.

    I always thought of basketball as a sport people followed/talked about, but not one actually watched.

  9. Rick says

    “heartfelt revelations like this man’s swing an axe at the long-fossilized paradigm in which a Matthew Shepard gets murdered or a Tyler Clementi leaps from the George Washington Bridge.”

    And they also “swing an axe” at the culture of effeminacy and weakness that is the face of that paradigm.

  10. Chris says

    It seems some people are missing the point IMHO. Regardless of how popular the sport is or how well known this particular player is, the publicity surrounding his coming out is spreading like wildfire. And with his story is the fact that the people who hired him knew, his team mates knew and everyone was fine with it. That’s a huge bit of information from someone who’s been there directly to the ears of all the young men out there thinking that they will be rejected, ostracized and will never be able to make a living in sports as a gay man. That’s a beacon of hope to kids (and adults, for that matter!)who think gay and sports cannot go together without isolation and lies. Good for him and good for the world at large!

  11. Derrick from Philly says

    “And they also “swing an axe” at the culture of effeminacy and weakness that is the face of that paradigm”

    Did Mr Testo mention he gets in the mirror and lip syncs to Lady Gaga and Beyonce? He has great dance moves too, Rick.

  12. TommyOC says

    @Endo: If Kansas City is any indication, Houston’s new stadium will see their attendance explode in 2012. Throw in Montreal’s rabid fanbase and MLS avg attendance should easily pass 18k next year, further solidifying its hold on the number 3 spot.

    What’s interesting is that all of the success MLS is having is happening right under people’s noses – and they’re totally unaware. I personally blame sports media, those hyper-masculine jock traditionalists who go out of their way to insult soccer for ratings, at turns insinuating its a sport for lesser athletes, or that it’s not a “man’s sport,” and thus “un-American.”

    While they’re trying to paint soccer as something that Americans will “never get,” Americans continue to show up in ever-increasing numbers to attend the matches.

    Thankfully it’s only a matter of time before MLS teams start getting bylines on the front page of the Sports section.

  13. Rick says

    @Derrick The day will come, Derrick, when the combination of gay men who actually behave like men coming out…..and “straight” and bi men shedding their homophobia and beginning to relate to other men emotionally and sexually in a masculine manner……will make you and others like you (and the culture of effeminacy you adhere to) nothing more than historical relics.

    I would suggest that you prepare accordingly…..and I, for my part, will be sure to pee on Judy Garland’s tombstone in celebration…..

  14. jr says

    how much of this is coming out for the good of gay-kind and how much of this is selfish individuals looking for attention in the dying moments of their careers?

    ricky martin – well at the end of his career hoping for a jump start back to fame, comes out.

    that young swedish footballer bumped down a division and plagued by career ending injuries, comes out.

    this guy, who no-one ever heard of gets dropped from the team and now decides to come out.

    no question it’s good for the gay community for public figures to come out, but let’s not get carried away with how selfless their decisions to do it are.

  15. Hue-Man says

    JR: I’m sure there is some validity to your point about self-interest. I think this quote from the Daily Mail is more representative of why high profile gays are coming out: “Breaking down in tears in the changing rooms of the Millennium Stadium, Gareth [Thomas] finally realised he could not go on living a lie. Keeping his true sexuality a secret was destroying him.”–Im-gay.html
    Whether Ricky Martin announces he’s gay doesn’t change my life but I have to believe he’s a much happier many for doing it. If he sells a few more records, even better!

  16. Tracy says

    This is truly great news for gay soccer fans in North America. Yes, there are some of us. I’ve got to say that 2011 will be a notable year for us here in Columbus! Our first Pride Night with the Columbus Crew and a former player for our team comes out! I actually remember him playing for the Crew in ’05!

  17. Alex says

    One tiny little nit-pick. There is no “French division of Radio-Canada” as such. Radio-Canada is itself the French division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The full bilingual entity is known as CBC/Radio-Canada.

  18. Rick says

    “Please link to a large and non-gay-themed news site that also covered this story.”

    I saw it on ESPN last night, on the “by-line” that runs across the bottom of the screen. And ESPN is the last word in sports. So there.

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