Former Columbus Crew midfielder David Testo publicly came out on Thursday, adding that he wished he had admitted his homosexuality earlier.
Testo appeared in 33 games for the Crew in 2004 and '05 and most recently played with the NASL's Montreal Impact until he was cut from the team’s roster a month ago.
"Living the life of a professional athlete and being gay is incredibly hard," Testo, 30, told CBC’s French-language Radio-Canada. "It’s like carrying around a secret, you know, and carrying around luggage and just never being allowed to be yourself."
Originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., Testo joined the Impact in 2007 from the Vancouver Whitecaps and played in Montreal until his recent release. He was named the Impact’s MVP in 2009.
"David Testo's declaration is in fact very personal," Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo said in a statement. "We knew David's orientation prior to him joining our club from Vancouver in 2007. During his career in Montreal, he has always been a professional and dedicated player to this club on and off the field. His decision to go public must have been a difficult one and we respect it."
Testo is the first current or former MLS player to come out.
“I’m gay. I didn’t choose this. This is just who I am,” Testo told CBC. “I really do regret not having come out publicly earlier. It’s something I struggled with my whole life and whole career.”