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US Player Robbie Rogers Comes Out, Leaves Soccer

Posted 2/16/2013 10:00 am by
Robbie Rogers controlling the ball for Stevenage in England.

Robbie Rogers controlling the ball for Stevenage in England.

Robbie Rogers has played at the highest levels of professional soccer.  He’s made 18 caps with the United States Men’s National Team in recent years, and since making his professional debut with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, he’s headed across the pond to play with the Premier League’s Leeds United and on loan with League One’s Stevenage side.  However, all this time, there was a secret Rogers was keeping from coaches, family, and teammates.  Robbie Rogers has come out as the first actively gay professional soccer player.

Of course, he didn’t stay active very long.  After coming out, in the same letter, he announced he was stepping back from professional soccer.  No doubt because soccer players aren’t the most tolerant and kind-hearted of the sports world.  I suppose blazing one trail at a time would be enough for me, too.  It’s hard enough being a Yank playing soccer in Europe, but to be the only openly gay player in the professional world would be a crushing burden, especially for a guy playing League One.

“Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity.  Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined,” Rogers wrote in his stepping-away announcement.  “I will never forget the friends I have made (along) the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.”

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