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#LGBTInnovators - Former Footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger

13th February 2016

#LGBTInnovators - Former Footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger

Thomas Hitzlsperger is a German former footballer who played as a midfielder. He spent the early part of his career playing for Aston Villa in England (accompanied by a short loan spell at Chesterfield), before returning to Germany to play for Stuttgart, where he won the Bundesliga in 2007. In 2010 he signed for Italian side Lazio, before moving back to England to join West Ham United later that year. He then had brief spells with Wolfsburg and Everton. Hitzlsperger is currently the color commentator for Fox Sports’ coverage of the Bundesliga.

Hitzlsperger also represented the German national team, earning 52 caps and being selected for the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. Following a series of injuries, he retired from football in September 2013.

Thomas came out in 2014, a year after retiring from football because of an injury. In an interview with the Guardian, Thomas said that it really helped him to see that other professional sports people were acknowledging their sexuality, which gave him the feeling that he was not alone. “I wanted to encourage them, the way that those guys and Robbie Rogers encouraged me,” he said.

Leap Sports is spotlighting #LGBTInnovators in sport throughout LGBT History Month this February. We will celebrate a different LGBTI innovator in sport each day. LGBTI sports innovators include athletes, competitors, coaches, managers, community members, founders or co-ordinators of sports groups, someone passionate about their sport.

Got an LGBTI innovator in sport that you would like to shine a light on?

Use your imagination and join the conversation using the hashtag #LGBTInnovators on Twitter @Leapsports and Facebook facebook.com/leapsports

Find out more about LGBT History Month at www.lgbthistory.org.uk

Written on 13th February 2016.