Megan Rapinoe says she came out as lesbian to help being gay “become something that's just normal to everyone.”

The 27-year-old Rapinoe, a member of the U.S. women's national soccer team and a midfielder for the Seattle Sounders Women, publicly discussed her sexual orientation for the first time in an interview with gay glossy Out.

In an op-ed published at ESPN, Rapinoe said she is “very proud of who I am.”

“I've been thinking about it for a while and decided it was the right time to speak up,” Rapinoe wrote. “As athletes, we live our lives in the public eye and have a platform to be positive role models. I'd like to help create more tolerance and acceptance across the board. That means more people talking about it, more people coming out and, at the end of the day, making less of a massive deal about being gay. I'd like to see homosexuality become something that's just normal to everyone.”

She added: “While the response to my not-so-big news was entirely positive – I don't think I've heard a single negative word – I still think we've got a ways to go. There are a lot of female athletes who have come out and only maybe one current male athlete who's out. Change is happening, as a lot of male athletes are saying they would accept a gay man in the locker room; hopefully that will work to break down the homophobia that's seen even more often in men's sports than women's.”