Gay Australian footballer Josh Cavallo says World Cup shouldn’t be going to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. (Photo: Getty)
When Josh Cavallo joined the New Zealand men’s national team, his playing club’s website and social media streams included a message saying his homosexuality was “a personal choice.”
But last month, Cavallo made headlines for his outspoken views on the LGBT community.
In March, the 25-year-old was a guest speaker at a Pride event in New York City. As he and others spoke, the crowd booed him when he said that if the United States played at the World Cup in June, he would not turn up in support of gay rights.
He faced similar criticism from the World Cup organizing committee, but the US Soccer Federation has since decided to include Cavallo, and three other players, in the preliminary squad announced last month.
In the three years since his death, Cavallo has spoken about his decision to come out, and how he dealt with the discrimination that followed.
“I think I could have done a lot more to help the movement,” he said. “I have two kids I’m very close with, and I’ve always wanted to make sure they have an authentic family life.”
Cavallo took the decision to come out after meeting his same-sex partner, in 2005. The pair began a relationship in 2004, and married after a year. They have two sons together.
“After that I was determined to get involved in the gay community, and make an impact,” he said. “I’ve always been a big advocate for equality.”
The New Zealand Socceroos are to play Colombia in the group stage of the 2015 Men’s World Cup in May.
Cavallo, who played five of his six previous World Cup games in 2009, has made more than 100 appearances for his country since making his debut in August 2009. He scored 14 of his country’s 15 goals in that year’s AFC Asian Cup, helping New Zealand advance to the knockout stage.
In January, he was asked how his decision to come out had influenced the decision-making behind the World Cup squad. He said he had not considered it a big deal, and that some players were uncomfortable with the idea that he would be at