June 16, 2022

A Soccer Star Speaks Out


A Soccer Star Speaks Out
Karpova plays for the Russian national team in 2017. Facebook, Nadya Karpova

On June 7, 2022, soccer player Nadya Karpova became the first professional Russian athlete to come out as a lesbian woman. Karpova had already made a name for herself as the only professional Russian athlete to openly and consistently condemn Putin's invasion of Ukraine

Karpova tried to conceal her sexuality as a young player. When she was readying to sign her first professional contract at 18, the owner of the WFC Rossiyanka Russian women's soccer club told Karpova's father that he would protect his "lesbian daughter." She did take the deal. In 2017, Nadya was questioned about her sexuality by Russian media, but told the interviewer that she was not a lesbian.

In 2017, after playing in 24 matches for the Russian national women's soccer team, Karpova moved to Spain to play for Valencia CF. She is currently a forward for RCD Espanyol in Barcelona.

Since moving to Spain, Karpova said she has stopped being afraid to speak openly. She told her mother last year that she was lesbian, but only recently decided to publically discuss her sexuality.

Karpova is also speaking out openly about the Ukraine War. While other Russian athletes remain silent or show support for the Kremlin, Karpova participates in opposition rallies and regularly posts anti-war messages on social media. She has been doing so since the war began.

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