Bethesda Interview: Collin Martin
The professional soccer player talks about high school life at B-CC, and being an openly gay male athlete
How about life after soccer?
It’s interesting. My goal was always to be a professional soccer player. I never set goals beyond that, so now that I’ve achieved that, I have to figure the rest out. I just got an A-minus on my thesis, so I’m graduating now with my undergraduate degree from GW. I’ve been taking part-time courses at GW for five years now. I’ll have a degree in history. When I left Wake to go pro for D.C. United, I transferred my credits to GW, and for the four seasons I was able to get a lot of credits done. So for the last two seasons in Minnesota I’ve been taking online courses at GW. I’ve had an amazing professor, Tom Long, who helped me with online courses. My thesis concerns the Civil War and the Battle of Vicksburg. I really enjoyed my studies and I’m glad I did something I cared about. I’d like to travel, to interact with people.
Have you gotten any outside work—endorsements, etc.?
No endorsements. But a lot of opportunities have come my way. In November, the night before I left Minnesota to come home, I had a big party for a magazine called Essential Homme. Sponsors included Baccarat glassware and John Varvatos clothing. They were telling me I might potentially be doing some modeling stuff. So that and advocacy work. I spoke at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dinner in Minneapolis. I have another magazine shoot coming up.
Do you enjoy public speaking?
I’ve already done speaking engagements with Athlete Ally [a nonprofit organization whose mission is to make sports more inclusive]. My first speech was in Los Angeles with USC and UCLA students, hosted by ESPN. We did a panel and I was asked questions—I was extremely nervous. When we broke down into smaller groups, I was more relaxed. When the students were told that I was the only male athlete out in the five major sports, they were amazed. It was cool to see their reaction. So there’s definitely a space for [speaking]. But it’s very difficult to do during the season. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable. The HRC speech was hard, but the gay crowd is pretty forgiving [laughs]. When you talk about your life, you’re not making any big proclamations. But there’s a learning process. I hosted a fundraiser for our governor [Minnesota’s newly elected Tim Walz]—I’ve gotten involved a bit in local politics.
It sounds like you’ve had a good reaction to your announcement.
There’s been almost nothing negative; I’ve had a lot of support from the people I care about. You hope to make an impact. I’m pretty confident in myself. I like being a trendsetter, putting myself out there and maybe doing something that others wouldn’t do.
How is it being home?
Oh, it’s great. I have tons of friends from B-CC. We have our five-year reunion coming up, and I’m excited to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while. I’m very fortunate to have lots of people I can talk to. And I’m going to Europe with some high school friends. But before that, I’m going by myself to Amsterdam, just to go to the Van Gogh Museum. I’m obsessed with Van Gogh!
Steve Goldstein is a freelance writer and editor and the former bureau chief in Moscow and in Washington, D.C., for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Bethesda Interview is edited for length and clarity.