Former MLS player Matt Hatzke details coming out as gay
When soccer player Robbie Rogers came out as gay in February, 2013 — a year and a half before NBA player Jason Collins — it was a monumental moment for American pro sports.
And for Matt Hatzke.
A few years removed from playing as a reserve for the Earthquakes, the former Bellarmine and Santa Clara star decided it was time to come out to his friends and family.
“When I read about Rogers … I finally felt that I had a role model, someone whose story was so very similar to mine,” Hatzke wrote for the website OutSports.
Hatzke also details the difficulties of pretending to be heterosexual around his teammates. “I truly believed that I could never come out as gay while playing professional soccer,” he wrote.
Hatzke detailed a particular postgame celebration that illustrates just how difficult an existence he was living:
“Up to this point I had been pretty good at deflecting questions and attention about my private life. But spending so much time with my teammates it became difficult to come up with stories and excuses for why I didn’t have a girlfriend or didn’t try to take anyone home at night.
“This night stood out in particular: What should have been a great night celebrating one of our rare wins that season turned out to be a depressing nightmare. With teammates razzing me to talk to this woman and that woman, I turned to my drink and imbibed heavily to avoid confrontation. As the night wore on my teammates continued to enjoy themselves, as I felt worse and worse about my situation and myself.
“As I so often did, I snuck out of the bar and returned to my hotel room alone, hoping that no one would notice or remember that night as we boarded the flight home the next morning. Thankfully nobody said a word.”
From the San Jose Mercury