Robbie Rogers Retires From Professional Soccer

Robbie Rogers Retires From Professional Soccer

LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers announced his retirement from professional soccer this week which means there are currently no openly gay athletes in the “big four” professional sports in the U.S.

Rogers broke down that historic closet door in 2013 when he came out and simultaneously retired.

But the 30-year-old athlete came out of retirement only three months later with the support of fans and players, playing for the LA Galaxy since 2013.

With a career spanning over 11 years in Major League Soccer, he has won two MLS Cups and represented the U.S. Olympic Team in Beijing in 2008.

From Robbie’s Instagram:

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.

Since coming out as gay, Robbie has been inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Robbie lives in Los Angeles with fiancé Greg Berlanti and their son, Caleb.

Thank you, Robbie, for being first. For your courage. For your persistence.

We are grateful forever for your audacity, daring and fearlessness to step through that door.