Zander Murray has announced his retirement from football.
Back in September 2022, the talented striker made history as the first Scottish senior football player to come out as gay.
“First, it feels like the weight of the world is now off my shoulders…It can be difficult, and you can feel very alone,” he said via the club’s website.
Since coming out, Murray has continued to make waves in the sports world with his LGBTQIA+ activism and dynamic plays on the field.
However on 26 December, the 32-year-old shocked fans when he announced that he would be stepping away from football.
“The big thing is, it’s my final season as a footballer. I think you just know when your time is up, and that’s where I’m at. You just know when the right time is,” he revealed during a recent interview with the BBC.
“I have achieved what I wanted to. I wanted to play in the league, and I have done that. And I feel with what is happening off the pitch for me, I don’t want to go on any further.”
11 months before his bittersweet announcement, Murray made LGBTQIA+ history after signing with the Scottish Professional Football League’s (SPFL) Bonnyrigg Rose.
By joining the League Two club, Murray became the first openly gay player in the SPFL since Justin Fashanu played for Airdrie and Hearts in the 90s.
After a few months with Bonnyrigg Rose, the beloved talent returned to his previous team, Gala Fairydean Rovers FC, in the fall.
In his aforementioned interview with BBC, Murray expressed his gratitude for being able to finish his football career with Gala Fairydean.
“The people there have been a massive help to me. They’re people that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. The club is very important to me,” he explained.
Murray also gave insight into his post-football plans and what he hopes to accomplish.
“I have started doing corporate speaking, going in to speak to businesses and speaking to very male-dominated areas like construction. I talk to people about my experiences and help them to talk about these issues,” he revealed.
The Disclosure: Out on the Pitch star also expressed an interest in coaching for women’s football.
While his teammates and fans have been supportive since coming out, Murray said that he would feel more comfortable working as a coach in the women’s league due to its welcoming and safe environment as a whole.
“I have to accept that I am never going to be my true authentic self in a dressing room full of straight men. That’s just the way it is. Everybody has been great but that’s just the truth,” he said.
“But the women’s game is welcoming. I feel like it is a safe space. Maybe it’s my own internal issue, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable as a coach in the men’s game. I feel that’s all on me.”
Even though this is the end of an era for Murray, he isn’t giving up on being a resource for other LGBTQIA+ individuals.
“When I get thanked by someone for doing this, I realise I see myself keeping on. And as long as I can help even more person, I’ll never give up.
We can’t wait to see how Zander Murray’s next chapter will unfold.