Anton Hysén wants to play in Major League Soccer.

Born in Liverpool and currently playing in Sweden’s Division 1 for Utsiktens BK, Hysén fell in love with the United States while in college, attending North Carolina Wesleyan in Rocky Mount. While the small school is in NCAA’s Third Division and didn’t provide much exposure to soccer in the States, Hysén nonetheless grew to greatly enjoy his time in America as well as the Americans he encountered, and ventures back as often as is possible.

Noting “I like everywhere; it’s still America,” where he plays isn’t much of an issue, he just wants to play professionally in one of the great cities in a country where he has come to enjoy his time. To him living and playing in America “would be an amazing feeling,” a feeling he’s had since his time in North Carolina. 

Hysén knows full well that if he plays in Major League Soccer there is the strong possibility he would be the first out gay man to play in a major American professional sport’s top division. Coming out to the media last spring, he finds it sad that no man here has come out while playing a team sport professionally. He enters into the possibility of being the first proudly and boldly, also knowing full well that there is the potential he will face homophobia at some point in his American career.

His attitude about it is great, with an understanding that people may have views against him and his sexuality due to a way in which they were raised. “I can’t blame anybody for being from a different family or a different culture,” he says adding that his play on the field will hopefully be the ultimate determination of how he is viewed within the sport rather than his sexuality. He gives a ballsy “nope” to questions about if he’s worried about how he’ll be treated due to homophobia; it’s a great attitude to have for someone who has come out so early in his career with at least ten good soccer-playing years ahead of him.

Perhaps this attitude comes from his family, European upbringing, and living in a fairly liberal country. While just like many of us he had initial trepidations about coming out to his father, former Swedish international and Liverpool player Glenn Hysén, his parents have been extremely supportive. He is also in a world where he’s far from being the only out professional athlete, and coming out to teammates is as matter-of-fact as explaining why there’s a documentary crew following you around for the day.

Like so many soccer players you come across here, Anton Hysén is very open with his fans, posting photos and giving updates on his recent activities frequently on his blog and somewhat new Twitter account. “Being yourself is truly what makes you a person,” Hysén says, “I’m being as open as I can.”

Hysén is still single and finding it difficult to find a boyfriend who matches his eclectic tastes. He’s into clothes, music, movies, travel, and of course when asked, “What do you do outside of soccer?” his immediate reply is “Watch soccer.” For him it’s not easy to find a man who shares such wide tastes and understands he may often prefer to go to a bar to watch Liverpool on a Saturday night over going dancing at a club.

Well don’t worry Anton. Here at gay4soccer we’re building a community of guys just like who you’re looking for: proud to be gay and proud to love soccer just like you. We wish you the best in the upcoming season and hope every professional scout here in the United States has you on their list of players to watch out for so we can see you here in our Major League Soccer stadiums very soon.

My talk with Anton ended as it began, with a hope and also a promise: “I hope that I will get one day over there where I can play in MLS. That would be awesome. It’s going to be one day, I promise you. One day I will be over there.”

(photo courtesy of Anton Hysén)