ROBBIE ROGERS, an American professional soccer player who plays for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer was born on this date. He plays as a winger, as a second striker and as a left back. Rogers has also represented the United States national soccer team. Rogers came out in February 2013, becoming the second male footballer in Britain to do so after Justin Fashanu came out in 1990. In May 2013, he became the first openly gay man to compete in a top North American professional sports league when he played his first match for the Galaxy.
After one season playing college soccer at the University of Maryland, Rogers attracted the interest of Dutch Eredivisie side Heerenveen. He signed for Heerenveen in August 2006 but failed to make any first-team appearances. He left the club by mutual consent in February 2007, and returned to the United States to sign for Columbia Crew. Rogers’ four-year tenure at Columbus Crew was a successful one, with the player breaking through into the first-team, as well as securing an MLS Cup title in 2008 and two Supporters’ Shield wins in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
In December 2011, Rogers opted to leave Crew when his contract expired. A month later, he signed for Championship side Leeds United on a free transfer. The first six months of his Leeds career were blighted by injury, and he was transfer-listed ahead of the 2012-13 season. In August 2012, Rogers joined League One team Steyenage on a loan deal until January 2013. At the end of Rogers’ loan agreement at Stevenage, he briefly returned to Leeds before it was announced he had left the club by mutual consent.
After briefly retiring and coming out as gay upon leaving Leeds, Rogers signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy in May 2013, becoming the first openly gay male athlete to join MLS or any of the five major North American sports leagues.
Rogers came out by posting a blog entry on his website. He wrote, “Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined”.
After basketball player Jason Collins came out as gay in April 2013, he sought out Rogers for advice on dealing with the media. Rogers was, briefly, in a relationship with Hollywood producer Greg Berlanti.