Prizm News / January 25, 2019 / By Bob Vitale

Matt Pacifici signed with the Crew in 2016. (Columbus Crew photo)

Matt Pacifici is the third former Crew player to come out as gay.


By Bob Vitale

Matt Pacifici, a former goalie whose professional soccer career was cut short by injury in his first season with the Columbus Crew, came out earlier this week in an Instagram post and an interview with the website, Outsports.

“What do you mean, ‘I didn’t tell you?'” he joked next to a photo of him holding hands with boyfriend Dirk Blanchat, who came out as well.

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While “playing the part of the straight professional athlete was much more important to me at the time than being true to myself,” Pacifici told Outsports, he’s now in a relationship that makes him happy and wants the world to know.

Matt Pacifici’s Instagram photo with boyfriend Dirk Blanchat.

“The more people who come out, the easier it will be for other people to follow,” he told the site that writes about LGBTQ athletes.

Pacifici, now 25, was signed by the Crew in March 2016 but never got to play in regular-season contest. He was kicked in the head during a practice session and placed on the season-ending injury list.

The injury ended his career as well.

According to Outsports, Pacifici is the fifth current or former Major League Soccer player to come out as gay.

Three of them have played for the Crew.

Robbie Rogers played for the Crew from 2007 to 2011 and was part of the team that won the MLS Cup in 2008. He came out in 2013 after retiring from the UK’s Leeds United, then came back to the United States to play for seasons for the LA Galaxy.

David Testo played for the Crew in 2004 and 2005. He came out in 2011 after his last season with the Montreal Impact.



Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.