It’s official… America has its first non-white Bachelor… And, his name is Juan Pablo Galavis.
The 32-year-old Venezuelan American former soccer star and former one-time Bachelorette suitor will star in the next installment of ABC‘s The Bachelor.
The reality dating show’s host Chris Harrison made the announcement on Monday night’s The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose special.
An ABC spokesperson confirmed that the fan favorite will become the first non-Caucasian Bachelor or Bachelorette in franchise history.
There have been a total of nine Bachelorettes; Juan Pablo is the 17th Bachelor in 18 seasons, as Brad Womack starred on the show twice.
Galavis had been one of 25 men competing for Desiree Hartsock‘s hand during the most recent season of The Bachelorette. He’s a single father to a 4-year-old girl named Camila.
Incidentally, Juan Pablo had never seen The Bachelor or The Bachelorette before appearing on the show. He told The Hollywood Reporter at last month’s Men Tell All taping that friend of his thought he would be a good fit and filled out the paperwork for him. He kept putting her off, telling her: “Yeah, yeah, I’ll fill that out later. I’m too busy.” He also didn’t want to leave his daughter for so long, but he ultimately met with the producers and decided it was worth taking a shot.
Galvis was one of several names that had been rumored as possibilities in recent weeks; others had included fellow Desiree suitors Drew Kenney and Zak Waddell and past “winner” Jef Holm, who became engaged to Emily Maynard in last year’s Bachelorette finale. (They split in late 2012.)
The Bachelor returns in January.