Former Leeds and United States national team winger Robbie Rogers hopes the taunts he endured while playing in England will one day make it easier for other gay players to reveal their sexuality.
Rogers publicly declared his sexuality after leaving Leeds in February, and subsequently announced his retirement from the game.
The 26-year-old has since returned to MLS action with Los Angeles Galaxy, and hopes other gay players will be able to follow his lead.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Rogers said: "For whatever reason, I don't think fans in England or fans in the UK are homophobic at all. They are just so passionate they will do anything to help their team get a little bit of an edge.
"The things they will say in a stadium does not reflect their character. But they take it just a little bit overboard sometimes. I learned that while I was in England.
"It's a little bit sad. Fans need to realise what you're saying to players, especially when you are on that level. You need to think it through before you start yelling at players."
When asked when he thinks a top-flight player in the UK might come out, Rogers said: "I have no clue when someone will feel they can do that. I hope soon.
"I hope they can learn from my experience, if possible, to see that it wasn't a big deal and that I'm playing football and just carrying on with my life."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.