Robbie Rogers (right) – Image: Twitter
The following is a social media post put out on 7th November, by professional footballer, Robbie Rogers, aged 30, as he retires from professional football. Rogers had retired once before, on February 15 2013, aged 25, and then came out as gay when he left Leeds United. In May 2013, Rogers signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and thus became the first openly gay male athlete to join MLS (Major League Soccer) or any of the five major North American sports leagues.
“As a young boy I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player and representing my country in front of the world. But as a teenager I grew more and more consumed by fear and shame. And sadly, at some point the scared kid inside me decided that pursuing my dream meant sacrificing a part of myself and hiding my sexuality from the world instead of embracing it.
My happiest years as a player are the ones where I could walk through the stadium at the end of games down the tunnel to my partner and son waiting for me at the other end. And my only regret in my eleven year career are the years I spent in the closet. I wish I could have found the courage that so many young individuals have shared with me in the past five years to live honestly and openly as a gay person. These are the young people that inspired me to overcome my fears and return to playing. They’re still the kids that send me letters every week.
To those kids, I say thank you. My proudest accomplishment in my career is helping to create a more open sport for you. None of this would have been possible without my teammates and brothers on and off the field, without the LA Galaxy and Bruce Arena who saw me as another player and not a distraction, or without the fans who judged me for my work ethic and my play and not my sexuality.
And finally, it couldn’t have been possible without my family, who loved me through all of my ups and downs and always supported my dreams and still do.
Lastly to all of the women and men who are still frightened to share their truth with the world, I’d encourage you to come out. By sharing who you are you will not only be improving your own life but inspiring and literally saving the lives of young people across the world. You deserve to take that same walk, down the players tunnel and have your own partner or loved ones waiting for you.
Again thank you to everyone who watched or help me follow these dreams. I could never have imagined the happiness I’ll take with me into retirement and into my next chapter”.
In 2013, Rogers began a relationship with Greg Berlanti, a TV producer and writer, and on February 18, 2016, a son was born to the couple.
In 2014, the American Broadcasting Company agreed to broadcast Men in Shorts, a comedy based on Rogers’ life. Storyline Entertainment and Universal Television optioned the rights to his story in July 2014, with Rogers credited as a producer.