Robbie Rogers, Former US National Team Player, Comes Out as Gay on Blog, Leaves Soccer

Robbie RogersRobbie Rogers, a soccer player for the U.S. Men’s National Team and most recently under contract with Leeds United, came out as gay on his blog on Friday and indicated he was leaving soccer.

Rogers earned 18 caps during his career with the National Team — scoring two goals — and played with the Columbus crew from the 2007 through 2011 seasons. Since then he had been with Leeds United, a club in the second tier of the English football system, at the behest of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. In January, however, after battling injury Rogers was released from the club “by mutual consent.”

On Friday, Rogers took to his blog on TheRobbieRogers.com, and admitted that he is gay, and that he had been struggling with the fear of coming out for years. He also indicated that he intends to “step away” from soccer, although whether that means a hiatus or retirement was unclear.

The text of Rogers’ blog post is as follows. Any mistakes or style errors are intrinsic to the original composition:

Things are never what they seem… My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family. In today’s society being different makes you brave.  To overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith in your purpose.

For the past 25 year 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.   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.

Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud.  What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?

Life is only complete when your loved ones know you.  When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone.  Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.

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. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.

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… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates.  I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.

Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.  It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.  Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear.  My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.

During the course of 2012, Orlando Cruz became the first boxer, and one of the most high-profile athletes to come out. Other well-known athletes to come out include WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes and tennis great Billie Jean King.

Although former NFL cornerback Wade Davis came out in 2012, no player from America’s four major sports has ever come out during their career.

Photo via Twitter/@CdGherardesca

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