As David Testo accepted his MVP award two years ago, he longed to thank his partner. While he was out to friends, family and teammates, he chose to remain in the closet publicly.
Testo, 30, who won his MVP award with the Montreal Impact, came out in an interview with CBC Radio Canada.
"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," Testo said told CBC. "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 saps all your energy to you, in addition to having to perform, having to play."
A North Carolina native, Testo went pro with the Columbus Crew of the MLS. He switched to the Impact in 2007 and won MVP in 2009.
"It's hard, like living the life of a professional athlete and being gay is incredibly hard," Testo told CBC. "It's like carrying around a secret, you know, and carrying around luggage and just never being allowed to be yourself."
Testo joins a tiny but mighty cadre of openly gay professional athletes, like Amelie Mauresmo, Martina Navratilova, John Amaechi, Rosie Jones, Billie Jean King, Esera Tuaolo, David Kopay, Diana Naiad, Greg Louganis and Johnny Weir.