Washington Spirit forward, Japanese soccer star Kumi Yokoyama comes out as transgender

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Washington Spirit forward and Japanese soccer star Kumi Yokoyama has come out as a transgender man. Yokoyama made the announcement on former teammate Yuki Nagasato's YouTube channel Saturday.

Yokoyama appeared in the video, which includes English subtitles. Yokoyama — who uses they/them pronouns — explained they dated women in the past, but felt they had to remain closeted in Japan. It wasn't until they started playing in the United States and Germany when they felt more compelled to come out. Yokoyama also credited their girlfriend for inspiring them to come out.

The Spirit responded to the news, telling Yokoyama the team was supportive of them.

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Yokoyama underwent top surgery when they were 20. They will delay having additional surgeries until they are done playing soccer.  

Kumi Yokoyama starred in Japan before joining Spirit

Yokoyama played on the U-17 team in Japan in 2010, joined the U-20 team in 2012 and were selected for the Japan national team in 2015. They played with Bundesliga club Frankfurt in 2017 and joined the Spirit in Dec. 2019.

Yokoyama started eight games with the Spirit in 2020. They scored a key goal in the Spirit's final Fall Series game against then-Sky Blue FC.

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