We published an article just a few months ago titled ‘Will football ever have an out player?’ Well 17-year-old Blackpool FC player; Jake Daniels has just answered our question. And the answer is…yes. Daniels is now the first active English footballer to come out as openly gay in over 30 years, following Justin Fashanu’s revelation in 1990.

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However unlike his few and far between predecessors Daniels incredibly made the decision to come out at the beginning of his career. A decision that so far has been well received by his club, fellow players, and the president of the F.A; Prince William who tweeted:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Twitter: “Football should be a game for everyone. What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society. I hope his decision to speak openly gives others the confidence to do the same. W” / Twitter


Blackpool Born and Bred

Prior to his incredibly brave announcement you may not have heard the name Jake Daniels. Unless, of course you’re an avid football fan or a Blackpool FC supporter. However his name is now one (regardless of the level of success of his impending football career) that we are unlikely to forget in a hurry.

Daniels is Blackpool through and through he has been playing for Blackpool since the age of 7. Last year he was named their top goal scorer, racking up an impressive 30 goals for the U18’S team. Proving himself worthy to sign a professional contract with the clubs adult team earlier this year. He is also a Blackpool supporter himself, and has turned down offers from bigger clubs to stay with the team he has grown up in. The team that despite it’s reputation for hooliganism he feels comfortable enough to be his true self at.


Blackpool Football Club Stadium (1), Seasiders Way, Blackpool by P L Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Showing Homophobia the Red Card

In an interview with Sky Sports, Daniels announces “I’m ready to be myself” and shares his struggles with his sexuality. Which began at the tender age of six and has led to years of hiding and lying about his true identity. But fear is now part of Daniels’s past. Coming out to his family, friends and fellow teammates was a huge step for him and, fortunately, he was met with love and support.

Despite the widespread acceptance from his fans and colleagues, Daniels remains aware of the stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community in football. He addresses the subject of homophobia and how male queer football players are often perceived as less masculine by the football community. He hopes that his coming out will serve as a motivation for other players to find the courage to do the same and stop hiding their true identities out of fear for their careers.

In particular Daniels recognises the impact it would have if a premier league player followed in his footsteps. We hope that they do! The law of statistics says there must be at least one already playing in the league. But if not maybe Daniels will one day move away from his beloved Blackpool F.C and play out and proud in the premier league or even the England squad!


Freedom to Flourish

It surely has been an amazing year for Jake Daniels. From being offered a professional contract, scoring 30 goals this season alone, to the success of his coming out story. Daniels has become an incredible role model, not just for his fellow football players but for fans, future footballers, and to anyone who is living in fear of embracing themselves and showing the world who they truly are. The largely positive reaction to the reveal of Daniels’s sexuality is a proof that the status quo is slowly but steadily changing – people are becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and its members face less and less discrimination. The football world is shifting towards a better future!