Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rogers signs with L.A. Galaxy as first openly gay male to compete in U.S. pro sports

Three months after coming out as gay and stepping away from the soccer pitch, midfielder Robbie Rogers has signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, reports USA Today. Rogers will be the first active openly gay player in Major League Soccer and to compete in U.S. professional sports.

Rogers also hopes to play for the U.S. national team during the 2014 World Cup.

The 26-year-old winger had a change of heart after he gave a speech to about 500 kids at an LGBT forum in April.

"I seriously felt like a coward," Rogers said. "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?"

In February, Rogers shared on his website that it was time to step away and discover himself away from his sport.

"For the past 25 (years) 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," Rogers wrote. "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."

Since then, NBA player Jason Collins has publicly shared his sexuality through a Sports Illustrated story which opened up the conversation of openly gay men competing in professional sports.

Rogers says he got a call from the veteran center the afternoon after Collins released his story.

"[He] just wanted to see how the process had been like for me with media and the attention," Rogers said. "I just tried to give him as much advice as I could. He seems like such a nice guy." 

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