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 field Wednesday defender Daniel Pu 
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Post field Wednesday defender Daniel Pu
SALEM, Ore. -- Conner Mertens didnt want to pretend anymore -- especially with his teammates. So the redshirt freshman kicker at Division III Willamette announced Tuesday that hes bisexual. "It got to a point where I just got tired of it, trying to hide who I was and trying to pretend I was something I was not," he said. Mertens, 19, announced his sexual orientation to his teammates during a meeting on Monday. A story about him appeared on on Tuesday. Speaking on campus later in the afternoon, Mertens said he hopes his announcement helps dispel the stereotypes and stigmas associated with bisexual athletes -- and in turn let other LGBT athletes know they are not alone. "You can be real and you can be yourself," Mertens said. "That only starts when you can love yourself and let others love you. Thats kind of where I was going with this." Bearcats coach Glen Fowles said the players were overwhelmingly supportive of his decision. "Its been great to see the way our guys have rallied around," Fowles said. "For our guys, Conner is just a kicker." Team captain and junior inside linebacker Jack Nelson said: "It wasnt a big deal and we were glad he felt comfortable to tell us." While several LGBT athletes have come out, including former NBA player Jason Collins, WNBA star Brittney Griner and Major League Soccer player Robbie Rogers, its believed that Mertens is the first active college football player at any level to publicly announce his bisexuality. Willamette issued a statement supporting Mertens decision, saying the university "respects his contribution to a more humane and just world." Fowles joked about how Mertens first approached him: "He says, Coach, Im really going to utilize this open door policy." Mertens, who told his family just after Christmas, said he was humbled by the response. "It sounds corny, but I legitimately feel theres a weight off my shoulders. Its tiring to pretend your something else for 24-7, for 18 or 19 years of your life," he said. "So finally to be able to joke about it, to be honest about it, not have to put on this mask, Im finally able to take a deep breath." The Bearcats play in the Northwest Conference. The team went 7-2 overall last season and finished third in the league at 4-2. Mertens did not play his freshman season because he hurt his left knee while playing soccer. He will compete with two other kickers on the Bearcats roster. Seth DeValve Jersey . Louis Cardinals, the team will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the SkyDome. Jays legends Jimmy Key and Ernie Whitt, members of playoff and World Series-winning teams of the past, will be on hand for the festivities to look back at what was the beginning of the Jays halcyon years. Jamie Collins Jersey . 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Tristan Walker and Justin Snith will represent Canada in doubles, while Gough, will be joined by Kimberley McRae in womens singles.Huddersfields Aaron Mooy has returned from international duty unscathed and is expected to resume in midfield for Sundays Sky Bet Championship home game against Sheffield Wednesday, live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 11.30am. Summer signing Mooy played in both of Australias World Cup qualifiers, against Saudi Arabia and Japan, although he was substituted in the second half as the Socceroos drew 1-1 with the Samurai Blue in Melbourne on Tuesday. Aaron Mooy is available for Huddersfield after international duty Defender Chris Schindler is in contention after recovering from the facial injury sustained in the recent win at Ipswich, while head coach David Wagner has no new injury or suspension problems. Forward Joe Lolley remains sidelined due to a foot injury as Town bid to make it nine wins from 12 in the Sky Bet Championship. Highlights of Huddersfields 1-0 win at Ipswich on October 1 Sheffield Wednesday defender Daniel Pudil has recovered from a thigh injury and will be included in the squad.ddddddddddddLeft-back Pudil was withdrawn early in the second half in the Owls recent home defeat against Brighton and missed the Czech Republics World Cup qualifiers with Germany and Azerbaijan. Highlights of Sheffield Wednesdays 2-1 home defeat by Brighton a fortnight ago Goalkeeper Cameron Dawson made his first senior appearance in the same match as Keiren Westwood was forced out due to a thigh problem, but the latter is expected to be fit.Sam Hutchinson (back) and striker Lucas Joao (groin) are both hoping to shake off injury in time to be included.Watch Huddersfield v Sheffield Wednesday live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 11.30am on Sunday. 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Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:04 am
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