Robbie Rogers joins LA Galaxy to become first openly gay player in MLS | inside World Soccer

Three months after coming out as gay and stepping away from the game, Robbie Rogers is returning as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy and will become the first openly gay player in the MLS.

Robbie Rogers will be the first active openly gay male athlete in an American professional team sport
Robbie Rogers will be the first active openly gay male athlete in an American professional team sport

Photo: Getty Images

Rogers wrote a moving post on his personal blog in February announcing his retirement while simultaneously revealing his sexuality.

Now, the 26-year-old is reversing field and has agreed to terms with the Galaxy.

Rogers' epiphany to return to the game came when he spoke to a group of about 500 kids at the Nike Be True LGBT Youth Forum in Portland last month.

"I seriously felt like a coward," Rogers told USA TODAY Sports.

"These kids are standing up for themselves and changing the world, and I'm 25, I have a platform and a voice to be a role model. How much of a coward was I to not step up to the plate?"

But it was a conversation with longtime friend Landon Donovan that gave Rogers the final push to return.

He said: "I sat down with Landon and just wanted to get an idea of what he thought of me coming back and what the atmosphere might be like.

"Regardless of the perception, we both agreed that we are at our happiest when we are helping people. I believe I'm happy now because I know that I'm helping people."

The former Columbus Crew midfielder returned to professional football in May, joining the Galaxy for training.

Rogers added: "I was a little scared to put myself back in that situation but after the first few days I was like, 'Wow, I miss this, I love this'.

"Once I got on the field, I felt really normal. More normal than I ever did in the past.

"I want to compete and be successful. I just want to be able to compete. Every day in training, make my team better and prove myself."

With 18 caps for the USA national team to his credit, he was to resume his international career and hopes to play in the 2014 World Cup.

Rogers said: "I want to get past the point where I was before. I want to get back to the national team. I was so close to making the World Cup in 2010, I want to be there for the next one."

He also hopes to be a role model for gay teens while playing.

"I want to come back and be that voice, be that role model," Rogers concluded.

"I want to compete on the field. I want to make it back to the national team. I want to be a role model. I have a lot of motivating factors working for me right now.

"There's a lot to be excited about. It's awesome to be part of a movement that is changing our society."


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