David Testo made headlines earlier this month when he came out publicly as gay, the first North American professional soccer player to do so openly. A onetime team MVP for the Montreal Impact, Testo was released by the new MLS club recently and is dealing with his new public identity and the ramifications it might have on his professional career.
He spoke with MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau about his decision, his days with the Columbus Crew and why he turned down a chance to return to Major League Soccer before he came out.
MLSsoccer.com: More than a week after your announcement, have you been surprised by the public reaction? It doesn’t seem like there’s been a great deal of controversy or backlash about your coming out.
Testo: When I did the interview [on CBC], I didn’t think it would have the echo that it’s had. I’ve been living in Montreal for the past five years, and I live in kind of a bubble in these terms, so when the interview had the ripple effect that it did, I was kind of in shock. But then I started getting nothing but positive feedback and congratulations, and lots and love and support. It’s been pretty awesome to see that people are so supporting, accepting and moving in the right direction.
When I gave the interview, I didn’t tell anyone. So when all of this happened, I started getting calls from my mom asking me, "What the hell have you done?" because reporters were calling my house in Nashville. I couldn’t believe it had gotten there already. I didn’t even think twice to tell anyone or forewarn anyone.
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I think this is a really important interview. I hope he finds a club to play for.