Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin announced on Friday that he is gay.
Martin, 23, is the only openly gay male athlete active in a major professional American sports league, after the retirement of LA Galaxy winger Robbie Rogers last November.
Martin wrote in a statement on Twitter that many of his teammates have long known about his sexuality.
"Tonight my team, Minnesota United, is having their Pride night. It's an important night for me -- I'll be announcing for the first time publicly that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer.
Tonight my team, @MNUFC , is having their Pride night. It's an important night for me - I'll be announcing that I am an openly gay player in Major League Soccer. #soccerforall pic.twitter.com/cOJQXfrBiv— Collin Martin (@martcw12) June 29, 2018
"I have been out as a gay man for many years to my family and friends, and this includes my teammates. I have played Major League Soccer for 6 seasons: 4 seasons with DC United and 2 seasons with Minnesota United. Today, I'm proud that my entire team and the management of Minnesota United know that I am gay. I have received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer and that has made the decision to come out publicly that much easier.
"As we celebrate Pride night, I want to thank my teammates for their unconditional support for who I am. In light of my experience as a professional athlete, I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly. June is Pride month, and I am proud to be playing for Pride, and to be playing as an out gay man."
Martin came up through the D.C. United academy and played sparingly for its first team, appearing in 32 league games over four seasons after making his MLS debut in 2013, as well as playing in the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.
D.C. traded Martin to Minnesota ahead of the 2017 season, and he has found more playing time in recent weeks, starting three MLS games and two in the U.S. Open Cup since the start of May.
Martin told the Star Tribune that he has received "nothing but support" from his teammates, and that he never made a team-wide announcement that he was gay.
"It's funny. I told maybe one or two guys last year, and it just spread really fast," Martin told the newspaper. "You tell the right person, and he'll tell everyone for you."
A number of Martin's fellow MLS players offered supportive messages on Twitter, including Toronto FC and U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore, who wrote: "Definition of courage right here. Huge respect for you, Collin."
MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement: "We admire Collin's courage, and are proud of him and of the support from the soccer community."
Martin is a former U.S. youth international, playing with the national team at the under-14 through under-20 levels. In 2013, he played with the U20s at the Toulon Tournament in France.