Monday, May 27, 2013

Robbie Rogers makes history as first openly gay male player in U.S. pro team sports

Usually making your debut in the 77th minute of 4-0 soccer match doesn't merit much fanfare but when you are Robbie Rogers — and making the unprecedented appearance on the pitch as the first openly gay man playing in a U.S. professional team sports league —  there was no way to prepare yourself on what to expect.

During Sunday's game against the Seattle Sounders, Rogers debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy was all he hoped for and more.

As Rogers' longshot wish to play in the MSL, after coming out as gay and walking away from the game, was granted he was received with rousing cheers and applause as he trotted out onto the field. 

"I guess this is a historic thing, but for me it was just a soccer game," Rogers said. 

Rogers announced his return to soccer  on Friday. The 26-year-old had retired in February after making his sexual orientation public.

On Saturday, the Galaxy announced they had acquired Rogers in a trade with the Chicago Fire. Rogers had been training with the Galaxy for several weeks and remained in close contact with Landon Donovan while retired.

"Because of the nature of the way sports has been for so many years — the macho culture that's been embraced by everybody — it's of interest to everybody," Donovan said. "Now, hopefully, the hype about it is over and he can get back to being a soccer player, which is what he wants to do."

After the match, Rogers tweeted about the ground-breaking 13 minute shift.

Rogers said the Galaxy's next stretch of games will provide a good barometer for his conditioning.

"I came into a situation where we were winning pretty heavily, so it's not an accurate test," Rogers said in a postgame interview. "The next few weeks will be the real test to see where I'm at."

Led by forward Robbie Keane's hat trick, the Galaxy beat the Sounders, 4-0, and scored a bigger victory off the pitch as well.

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