• Retired English soccer player Thomas Beattie opened up about his decision to come out as gay in June in a new interview
  • Beattie encouraged young athletes who feel like they can't come out to find a person to open up to
  • Beattie is just the third male professional player in U.K. sports history to come out as gay after Justin Fashanu in 1990 and Robbie Rogers in 2013

Former pro soccer player Thomas Beattie, who recently came out as gay, encouraged young athletes who are also members of the LGBTQ+ community not to be afraid to pursue a career in sports, saying it “would be a real shame” if the world missed out on possibly “the next Cristiano Ronaldo.”

On June 23, Beattie spoke with The Advocate about his decision to come out as gay. After sparking discussions on being out in sports, the retired English soccer player is now sharing his thoughts on the dialogue that stemmed from him coming out and gave some advice to aspiring pro athletes in a new interview with Inside with The Advocate.

According to Beattie, coming out was not an easy process as it took a while for him to accept his sexuality. He explained that while some people become aware that they are LGBTQ+ at a young age, he was among those who did not let themselves believe it.

“I was like, ‘There’s no way that’s me.’ But obviously deep down, I knew that’s what I was,” he shared.

Beattie, who is now a successful entrepreneur after retiring in 2015, said his personal “end goal” after coming out was to set himself free. However, he did it in one big “swoop” via ESPN in June in order to make a larger impact.

For Beattie, after fully embracing the fact that he’s gay, he believes that finding at least one person to speak to would be a huge help.

“To be in silence and alone is a difficult path. Having the ability to speak to one person is going to be a huge benefit,” Beattie said when asked for advice he would give to young athletes who feel like they can't come out.

“It’s a shame if you never fulfill a potential of a dream. You never know what you might be missing out on if you decide to go the opposite way and decide not to pursue sport as a career [because you’re queer]. That’d be a real shame to look back and say ‘What if?’ You never know. We could be missing out on the next Cristiano Ronaldo,” he continued.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final. Getty Images

Beattie also said people within sports are “largely quite accepting on the professional level” as they often work with people with different ethnicities, religions and cultures.

“Be passionate about whatever it is that sets your soul on fire,” Beattie concluded his interview. “If that’s sport, then go for it.”

Beattie’s professional career lasted for over a decade. He has played for various professional leagues across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Asia.

Beattie is the third male professional player in British sports history to come out as gay after Justin Fashanu in 1990 and Robbie Rogers in 2013.