LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers announced his retirement from professional soccer today.
He made history in 2013 when he came out. He became the first openly gay male athlete in a major North American professional sport.
Rogers made the announcement on his Instagram account and through the Galaxy’s official website.
‘As a young boy I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player and representing my country in front of the world,’ his Instagram post begins.
He further explains that his fear of coming out made him decide ‘pursuing my dream meant sacrificing a part of myself and hiding my sexuality from the world instead of embracing it’.
Rogers only regrets the years he ‘spent in the closet’ during his career.
‘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,’ the post continues.
‘My proudest accomplishment in my career is helping to create a more open sport for you.’
He thanks his teammates and family and ends his post with a note to all LGBTI people.
‘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.’
Rogers began his career in 2005 playing for Orange County Blue Star before going to the Dutch team SC Heerenveen.
He came back to the US in 2007 to play for Columbus Crew SC. It was then back across the pond where he played for Leeds United and Stevenage from 2012-2013.
In 2013, he joined the LA Galaxy and remained with them until today.
He also played in 18 international caps with the US Men’s National Team, including the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
‘He helped lead our club to a championship in 2014 while breaking barriers and being a force for positive change in our sport and in our community,’ said Galaxy President Chris Klein. ‘We want to thank Robbie for his time with the LA Galaxy and wish him the best of luck in the next step of his career.’