U.S soccer star Robbie Rogers has "come out" as gay on the day he retired from the game Friday.
The former Columbus Crew winger represented America on 18 occasions, including at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
But Rogers, who was released from his deal by second-tier club Leeds United last summer before taking up a spot with third-tier Stevenage, revealed on his blog that he is homosexual and keen to seek a life away from football.
"Secrets can cause so much internal damage," Roberts wrote on his blog.
"People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay.
"Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.
"I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined.
"I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
"Now is my time to step away. It's time to discover myself away from football. It's 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision.
"Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.
"Honesty is a b**** but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended."
Rogers' announcement has seen former teammates flock to show their support with Oguchi Onyewu, the U.S. defender, tweeting: "Extremely proud of the courage from @robbierogers. Truth is not always easy to display, but truly strong people always find a way #RESPECT"
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden added on Twitter: "Much love and respect to my boy @robbierogers ! Proud to be your friend bro."
Rogers' retirement means there are still no openly gay players participating in professional football in Europe with the exception of Swedish-based Anton Hysen.
It was hoped that Hysen's coming out, which attracted headlines the world over in March 2011, would pave the way for other gay footballers to take similar steps.
But not since the tragic loss of Justin Fashanu has a top flight league witnessed an openly gay professional football player.
Fashanu, who committed suicide in 1998, became the first £1 million black player in the history of English football when he signed for Nottingham Forest in 1981.
While at Forest, constant rumours and speculation surrounded his private life with concocted allegations of affairs with Conservative MPs.
With the rumors continuing throughout his career, he finally came out in 1990 and continued to play for a whole host of lower league clubs.
"You have to understand," he said in an interview before his death, "that footballers are very narrow minded people. It's the nature of the business. When you put yourself in the firing line, you are open to attack. I know I'm there to be shot down in flames."