11/10/2011 02:20 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Pro soccer player David Testo comes out of the closet, wishes he did it earlier

MONTREAL - Saying he regrets not having done it earlier, pro soccer player David Testo has come out of the closet.

The former Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder told CBC Radio-Canada that teammates knew he was gay and accepted him — but he was afraid to go public until now.

"It's like carrying around a secret, you know, and carrying around luggage and just never being allowed to be yourself," Testo told CBC.

The North Carolina native says, at age 30, he feels more confident and mature and is ready to speak publicly about his sexual orientation.

Testo joined the Impact in 2007 but is currently without a contract and won't be back with the team for its MLS debut next year.

Testo previously played for the Whitecaps, Columbus Crew and Richmond Kickers.

"David Testo's declaration is in fact very personal," Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo said in a statement. "We knew David's orientation prior to him joining our club from Vancouver in 2007.

"During his career in Montreal he has always been a professional and dedicated player to this club on and off the field. His decision to go public must have been a difficult one and we respect it."