Robbie Rogers, first out male athlete in US pro sports, retires from football
Robbie Rogers, the LA Galaxy defender who became the first openly gay male athlete in a major North American professional sport, is retiring
Robbie Rogers, the LA Galaxy defender who became the first openly gay male athlete in a major North American professional sport, is retiring from football.
Rogers came out while announcing his retirement in 2013 after being released by Leeds United. That retirement lasted less than three months before he signed with the Galaxy. In a statement, the 30-year-old paid tribute to the Galaxy for for their support.
I would like to thank [former Galaxy coach] Bruce Arena for encouraging me to return to professional soccer after I came out as a gay man. Id also like to thank all of my LA Galaxy team-mates for accepting me from the first day I stepped back into the locker room at StubHub Center, he said.
Finally, Id like to thank the fans for their continued support throughout my career. Ill never forget the feeling of returning to the field in my first game back. That feeling of acceptance and support pushed me as an athlete and as a person. Having the opportunity to win an MLS Cup in my hometown, with my hometown club as an openly gay man will be something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
In 2013, he told the Guardian about his trepidation around coming out. I was just fearful. I was very fearful how my team-mates were going to react. Was it going to change them? Even though Id still be the same person would it change the way they acted towards me when we were in the dressing room or the bus?
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Rogers said coming out was the best decision he had ever made. Lastly to all of the women and men who are still frightened to share their truth with the world, Id encourage you to come out, he wrote. By sharing who you are you will not only be improving your own life but inspiring and literally saving the lives of young people across the world. You deserve to take that same walk, down the players tunnel and have your own partner or loved ones waiting for you.
Again thank you to everyone who watched or help me follow these dreams. I could never have imagined the happiness Ill take with me into retirement and into my next chapter.
Rogers, a left-back, is a 10-year MLS veteran and two-time All-Star who won league championships in 2008 and 2014. He also played at the 2008 Olympics for the US, and won 18 senior caps. He missed the entire 2017 season due to injuries, a problem that plagued him throughout his career.
NBA player Jason Collins came out in April 2013, shortly after Rogers made his announcement.