Football’s First Openly Gay Star Josh Cavallo Proposes to Electrician Partner on Home Pitch

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The 24-year-old Australian player came out as gay in October 2021, becoming the only active male professional footballer at the time to do so.

Josh Cavallo, the first top-flight male professional soccer star to come out as gay, has blazed a new trail by proposing to his electrician partner on the pitch of his club.

The 24-year-old Australian player made history in October 2021, when he posted an emotional online video of him coming out and vowing to change the sport’s culture “to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football.”

Cavallo was hailed for his bravery by fans around the globe, with several other players inspired by his actions.

The Adelaide United star has since then become one of the most recognisable faces in the sport and an outspoken advocate for greater equality for the LGBTQ community.

On Thursday, Cavallo announced that he had proposed to his fiancée Leighton Morrell at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium.

He shared a picture of himself down on one knee and holding out a ring. He posted other photos showing himself beaming while his partner covered his eyes and a close-up of the two holding hands.

Cavallo thanked his Australian club for providing a “safe space in football”.

“Starting this year with my fiancée. Thank you Adelaide for helping set up this surprise. You have provided a safe space in football, one that I never in my dreams thought could ever be possible,” he said on X (formerly Twitter), adding he wanted to “share this special moment on the pitch, where it all started.”

Fans congratulated the happy couple on their news.

“Huge congratulations to you both,” one said.

Another wrote: “Absolute scenes, congrats!”

“How exciting it was done in a place where you have been so comfortable in your own skin,” another added.

When Cavallo came out in 2021, he said in his emotional post to the world: “I’m a footballer and I’m gay. All I want to do is play football and be treated equally. I’m tired of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life, it’s exhausting.”

The player said he had “been fighting my sexuality for over six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.” He said he had always felt the need to hide while growing up because he was ashamed he “would never be able to do what I loved and be gay”.

“Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer. Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before,” Cavallo added.

“I’ve lived my life assuming that this was a topic never to be spoken about.”

Since coming out in 2021, Cavallo has played in A-League Pride matches with the name and number on his jersey printed in rainbow colors to raise awareness, and has constantly posted encouraging messages on social media.

He was named “Man of the Year” in 2022 at an awards ceremony hosted by Attitude Magazine, Europe’s largest LGBTQ magazine publication.