1v1 with Robbie Rogers
Whether he is updating his website, working on his clothing line, or perfecting his game at practice, Robbie Rogers is a busy man. Although he his involved in a variety of non-soccer related projects, Rogers knows if it wasn't for his love of the game he wouldn't be able to have an extensive platform to share all of his passions for life.
Recently I sat down with the 23-year-old for 1v.1 and discovered that even though he has his hands full, the most important thing to Rogers, is his family and the people that are closest to him.
When did you know you wanted to become a professional soccer player?
When the World Cup was in the United States (1994) I went to a game with my dad and thought wow, this is amazing I wish I could do this someday. It wasn't until I was 14 when I played for the U-15 National Team that I thought 'I think I can do this' and I saw a path to becoming a professional soccer player.
Where did you get your business mindset from?
Just growing up in the family that I'm from there are so many professionals, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs. My grandpa is a doctor but he also owns avocado groves and he invests in stocks all over the world. I tried to pick up from that and learn from him, it's fun for me. I love soccer but I don't think life would be as fun if it were just soccer.
What do you see as being a pivotal moment in your career?
The year we won the Championship in Columbus, that whole season. I got to go to the Olympics, we won the Championship, supporters shield, I was an All Star Best XI, it was the first year I played with the National Team, that year was the most pivotal.
Most rewarding part of your career?
Because of soccer I have this platform where I can reach out to people. I love my job, it's unreal, it's perfect, but being able to reach out to people because of this platform, I think all athletes can and its up to them to use it for good or bad. I'm still learning but I really want to reach out to more people.
Do you consider yourself a role model?
That's a good question. I try to be a good role model, to be as kind, courteous and as positive as I can be. I'm human, I make mistakes, I think sometimes people forget that. So far I've done alright on that aspect of being a professional athlete. Like I said, I still want to reach out to more people and have a positive influence on them.
What would you say has been the most challenging part of your career?
The mental side of it has been the most challenging part for me. Playing with confidence when I have different coaches that are negative, it's hard for me to forget about them and realize that I'm not just playing for them. In my mind I'm playing for my teammates, for God, for my family, for my club. Sometimes when there are negative things going on around you it can affect you and I've started to realize that, I'm growing out of it. When you get over it you realize how it can affect you, then you start to play better and be more positive, you're pretty proud because it can be a tough obstacle.
Is it hard realizing that?
Of course, because you're following your coaches tactics, you're trying to help him out but to be able to take pieces away from when he is trying to help you and then there are the times when you and your coach don't always agree, but it's important to forget about those. At the end of the day people are going to judge you if you're successful or not. If you're playing well, or a style of soccer they like to watch, or winning and scoring goals, in the end it's all about what you do on the field.
What has been the most challenging part of your career?
The ups and downs, after injury, after almost making the World Cup team, keeping a level head and it's important to keep enjoying yourself. There are ups and downs in any sport but if you can keep enjoying yourself that’s really important.
What do you think helps you set your standards?
I have really good people around me that remind me of what I should be doing. They are honest people who tell me that I should be doing more or you're great. I'm pretty hard on myself, I work hard, I go to training, I always workout after training and I know when I'm not doing well. I also like to watch a lot of soccer and learn from that to see where I can improve.
Who are some people who you look up to in the soccer world?
When I was younger, Jurgen Klinsmann was a player I always like to watch and he is a great guy too. In the past I've liked watching Kaka, he has had some injuries and hasn't done that great with Real Madrid. I really enjoy watching Arsenal, I love the way they play with all their young players and the attitude they have.
What gives you strength?
There are a lot of things, God, he is going to judge at the end if I'm a good person, if I'm professional with my life and if I've made the right decisions. My family, I'm always trying to impress my family, like every kid does. My sisters, I always look up to what they have to say and of course there are my friends. Outside of that I really don't care.
I don't think you grow out of trying to impress your family…
Of course you don't, but eventually you get to the point where you want their advice and you listen, but you don't always take their advice.
Does your family ever "put you in check?"
Definitely, they make fun of me and remind me of who I am, and my friends as well. They remember who I was growing up, where I'm from so we can relate and talk about that time when we were younger and went TP'ing or played paintball, I love to keep in contact with them.
Finish this sentence for me, Robbie Rogers is a great teammate because________
…..I love my teammates.
In your mind what is success?
For me being success is being in a place where I can be happy with whatever I'm doing, being positive and people enjoy being around me.
Last one, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Wow, thats tough. It's no surprise to anyone that I want to go back to Europe at some point in my career, but I think in 10 years I'll be back in the MLS. Who knows where, maybe Columbus, New York, LA, who knows. Hopefully, in 10 years I'm back in the United States as a World Cup veteran, a successful businessman, married with kids, a house somewhere and teaching the younger players here in the MLS about soccer and enjoying life.