Robbie Rogers, 26, the US Olympic athlete and international footballer/soccer player, who came out and told the world that he’s gay in February 2013, and was retiring from professional sports, had a change of heart, and the world of professional sports will be better for it.
In an interview with USA Today Sports, Robbie announced that after some time away from the sport, and some personal reflection, that he’s returning to the ranks of professional athletes, and will be playing for Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy. He will be the first active openly gay player in Major League Soccer.
When Robbie came out, he made the announcement on his website, and he pondered whether some of his unfulfilled dreams would haunt him. He asked “Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud. What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?”
|Pro footballer/soccer player Robbie Rogers.|
After he spent a few months thinking about his dreams, he came to the realization that his sexuality isn’t a barrier to fulfilling his dreams, and that’s terrific.
As I noted in February, Robbie has played at the highest levels of his sport. He’s been a member of the US National team, and he scored the tying goal against Mexico in the first match under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. He’s an Olympian, and started all three games for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and played for the Columbus Crew when they won the MLS Cup Championship.
USA Today reporters Mike Foss and Erik Brady asked Robbie why he changed his mind. They wrote:
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," he tells USA TODAY Sports in an exclusive interview about his return. "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?"
And so, newly turned 26, he will step onto the pitch again. He couldn't imagine such a thing when he told his secret in February, writing an open letter on his website and linking to it with this pithy tweet: "Just getting some shit off my chest."
He also hopes to play for the U.S. national team in the 2014 World Cup — and to be the role model for gay teens that he wished he'd had.
This is fantastic news, and I’m really glad that Robbie is more comfortable in his skin, and that he can return to the game that he loves. It’s great for him, great for the Galaxy, and great for professional sports. Plus he’ll be a terrific role model for gay and straight kids, and we need more Robbie’s in the world.
Congratulations Robbie - and keep reaching for the stars!