Former (and maybe future?) U.S. Men's National Team soccer player Robbie Rogers has come out as gay. The 25-year-old soccer player came out in a heartfelt post on his personal blog, in which he also announced that he was stepping away from the game. Rogers wrote:
"Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love...For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams...My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended."
Rogers shared the post on Twitter and received powerful and immediate support from fellow Major League Soccer players, including New England Revolution and U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber, and New York Red Bulls and U.S. defender Heath Pearce.
Rogers played one year collegiately at the University of Maryland before signing onto the Dutch club Heerenveen in 2006. He later joined the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, during which the team captured the 2008 MLS Cup, and the 2008 and 2009 MLS Supporters Shields. Rogers made 18 appearances on the U.S. Men's National Team during his career. Rogers has had a history of injuries, some of which have kept him from playing for extended periods of time, and it's unclear what role these injuries played in his decision to step away from the game. Should he return to an active role in professional soccer, he would immediately become the highest-profile active openly-gay athlete in the history of men's professional team sports.
"In the mere hours since Rogers made his announcement, the world has seen the foundation that has been built for LGBT inclusion in the sports world," said Aaron McQuade, head of GLAAD's Sports Program. "Teammates, opponents, teams, leagues and fans alilke have already shown incredible support for Rogers, and they will continue to do so throughout his career, whether his path takes him back to the field or not."