In the macho world of professional sports, Robbie Rogers took one courageous step in the American soccer community on Friday by announcing to the world that he was gay. Rogers had suppressed the secret for years and will now take a break from soccer as he prepares for the "next chapter" in his life.
“Secrets can cause so much internal damage,” Rogers shared on his blog. “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."
Rogers' former Crew teammate Frankie Hejduk offered up his support following his announcement.
"Robbie's recent announcement has no bearing on how I feel about Robbie as a person whatsoever," the former Crew Captain said. "Robbie is and will always be a great friend, a great teammate and a great player to me. I'm fully supportive of anything he decides to do with his future. I wish him the best in the next chapter."
Should this be an early retirement, the 25-year-old leaves behind a career that saw him win the 2008 MLS Cup and 2008 and 2009 MLS Supporters' Shields with the Black & Gold. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native also represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and was an MLS Best XI selection that year as well. For the U.S. Men's National Team, Rogers earned 18 caps from 2009-11 to tally three goals and one assist, including the equalizer in the United States' 1-1 draw with Mexico in Jürgen Klinsmann's coaching debut on August 10, 2011.
"Robbie has been a big part of the organization and part of some of our greatest moments," Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers said. "I think it's disappointing to see him walk away from soccer, first and foremost in my mind because he was such a talented player. On a personal side, we support his decision and the courage he's displayed in making it public."
"I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, the MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates," Rogers writes. "I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.”
Rogers played most recently with Stevenage FC in England's third division on loan from Championship side Leeds United. Rogers and Leeds mutually agreed to part ways when the loan expired in January. The Crew traded Rogers' MLS rights along with Dilly Duka to the Chicago Fire in exchange for Dominic Oduro in early February.
Regardless of Rogers' future in soccer, he will always be a champion in the hearts of Crew supporters and fans.