Hatzke, who was acquired by the Earthquakes in 2008 after first being drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the fourth round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, says he already knew he was gay when he played as a midfielder that season, but that he never felt comfortable telling his teammates.
“I truly believed that I could never come out as gay while playing professional soccer. It was that year in MLS that I had reached my breaking point. My release from soccer put me on the path to coming out to myself, my family and my friends,” Hatzke wrote.
By summer I was trying to make a name for myself on the team. I was in the starting line-up on the reserves, but I wanted to make the jump to the first team. My game was at my all-time highest level, and I was hoping that would soon lead to an appearance in a game. I was battling daily on the field in hopes of furthering my soccer career.
The battle I waged in my private life was never more apparent than on a team trip to Columbus that June. I found myself on the 18-man traveling team headed to face the Columbus Crew, who would go on to win the 2008 MLS Cup with Robbie Rogers a key cog on the team. While I didn’t appear in the game, we won 2-0. It was a huge win for our squad. The Crew lost only two home games that season, and we won only two on the road.
We never missed a cause for celebration! Those rare victory dances always featured a bar, some beer… and women. It meant expectations and pressure on me from teammates to hook up with said women in said bar.
Up to this point I had been pretty good at deflecting questions and attention about my private life. But spending so much time with my teammates it became difficult to come up with stories and excuses for why I didn’t have a girlfriend or didn’t try to take anyone home at night.
Article continues belowHatzke came out to family and friends in 2013 after Robbie Rogers came out as gay. “I finally felt that I had a role model, someone whose story was so very similar to mine,” wrote Hatzke.