In the closet...
Career-focused Jason Tant has given up on love to play football at the highest level: his team is in the Premiership, and Jason also plays for the English national team (even though his mother is Spanish). He doesn’t want to be the poster boy for LGBT people in sport—and his advisors have told him that coming out will ruin his career. It’s not an issue until Scott captures Jason’s heart and turns his world around.
Out and proud...
With a carefree, live-for-today attitude, Scott Cole was never in the closet. Funny, clever, and a terrific dancer, the science student has many talents but the man he loves requires something else—discretion. They seem an unlikely couple but neither can resist the chemistry that draws them together.
Prying paparazzi are everywhere, determined to out gay footballers. Scott questions whether he and Jason need to keep their love a secret when professional British sportsmen in other fields are coming out. Will Jason have to choose between love and his career? Or will the tabloids destroy them both?
An MM romance novel with a happy ever after.
The story spans 2012-2015. Set in England where fans would die for their football team and football is not called soccer.
The book was inspired by the news story in October 2015 that British gay footballers are preparing to come out in public. As of January 2017, no professional players at the top level in European football have come out. The rumours persist and there have been discussions at the highest levels, including inside Parliament.
*** This book is also in print ***
What the author has to say:
Separating fact from fiction, for those who are interested. The characters and the Birmingham South City football team are entirely fictional but the story is set against a backdrop of real events.
In 2013 Robbie Rogers quit football and came out. He was playing in the division below the Premiership at the time. He subsequently returned to the US to play in MLS for LA Galaxy and has been a terrific advocate for LGBT people in sports.
Today, Robbie Rogers is still one of only two out, full-time, professional footballers in the entire world out of an estimated 500,000 men.
There has been an increasing number of top sportsmen coming out over the past decade. Almost all report positive and supportive experiences after coming out. My fictional characters in Britain would be very aware of these. In particular ex-Premiership player Thomas Hitzlsperger, who came out in 2014 after he had retired; a number of Rugby players, including two in 2015; and Tom Daley the British diver who came out in 2013.
Civil partnerships for same sex couples have been around for sometime in the UK. Equal marriage became a reality in 2014.
There have been many and various initiatives to stamp out homophobia in football and raise awareness both in the UK and internationally in recent years. Players and fans are reprimanded for homophobic language, for example. Whether things have changed for players remains to be seen. In his book, Coming Out to Play, Robbie Rogers describes an environment that sounds ignorant and intimidating for a closeted gay man playing in the higher tiers of football in Europe in 2012.
Without a doubt, the majority of the British public accept and welcome LGBT equality. We have LGBT friends and family members. In some macho male-dominated sports an archaic culture of homophobia may persist.
In October 2015 there was an announcement that at least two footballers who play in the Premiership will go public. This is where the story ends for Home Goal.
In real life, the story continues. Sportsmen derive a substantial part of their income from advertising. Most recently, Nike, Adidas, and others have either cut sponsorship of celebrities who make homophobic comments or committed to continuing funding of celebrities who come out. In deciding whether to go public LGBT sportspeople must consider the potential impact on their careers and future income, whether from funding or from appearances as a popular sporting figure.
Continued homophobia in sport is important. That is not just my opinion. In spring 2016 the British government announced an enquiry into this issue. They are investigating homophobia in football and its impact on players among other things.
If we think about how things have changed for LGBT sports people over the past decade, the future decade should bring in great change for the better. And I hope that change will spread internationally as today approximately half of the world’s population live in countries where it is illegal to be lesbian or gay. In those same countries football is very popular. Football (not soccer) can boast the largest international viewing audiences for major events. Far greater than the American Super Bowl, for example.