An anonymous gay soccer player has spoken out about the reasons why he refuses to come out.
The footballer in Germany’s Under 19 Bundesliga, who plans on playing professionally, says the homophobic culture in the changing room will stop many from being honest with the public.
Given the pseudonym of 'Nico', he told Deutsche , Welle there was an incident with his team two years ago that made him think his career was over.
‘By chance the team I was in found out that I was gay,’ he said.
‘After a training session I walked into the shower and I realised all of my teammates weren't naked,but were wearing underpants.
‘Of course I was totally shocked, and first I didn't know why. Then I slowly realized: It's because of me. In that moment I thought my career was over. I didn't want to go to training anymore.
‘But after a week I went back to training. By the end of the season though, I was out of contention because I'd been playing badly. Nevertheless, I thought I'd played a good season.
‘That showed me that being gay just isn't accepted in football. And that won't change in the near future.’
Recently, former German national Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay.
But instead of making it better, Nico believes homophobia in the stands has gotten worse. And he says he will wait until he thinks it has gotten better before he does come out.
He concluded: ‘When you play well in a game and the crowd starts cheering your name, there's no better feeling.
‘It wasn't worth throwing that and ten years of training away just because I like men and not women.’