A former Montreal professional soccer star is going public about having hidden his homosexuality.

David Testo, 30, played with the Montreal Impact until last month, and won the team's MVP award in 2009.

The North Carolina native told CBC Radio-Canada this week that he is gay, and regrets not coming out earlier.

"It's hard, like living the life of a professional athlete and being gay is incredibly hard," said Testo.

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

Testo's sexual orientation wasn't a secret to his family, friends, or even his teammates.

But he said he had battled with his decision to make his sexual orientation public for a long time, and said he was extremely sad that he didn't feel able to thank his partner as he accepted his most valuable player award two years ago.

Testo played for the Montreal Impact between 2007 and 2011.

He joins a small group of professional athletes to come out, including former NBA centre John Amaechi, swimmer Mark Tewksbury, and tennis star Martina Navratilova. Most came out following retirement, and no male athlete from a major league has come out while still playing.