Robbie Rogers, first openly gay male professional athlete in USA pro sports, retires Robbie Rogers, first openly gay male professional athlete in USA pro sports, retires
Robbie Rogers, who became the first openly gay male athlete in a major North American professional sport, is retiring from football. Rogers, 30, came... Robbie Rogers, first openly gay male professional athlete in USA pro sports, retires

Robbie Rogers, first openly gay male professional athlete in USA pro sports, retires

Robbie Rogers, who became the first openly gay male athlete in a major North American professional sport, is retiring from football.

Rogers, 30, came out while initially announcing his retirement in 2013 after he was released by Leeds, becoming the first professional footballer to do so since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

LA Galaxy then signed Rogers just three months later, with the USA international going on to make 78 MLS appearances before bringing his playing time to a close on Tuesday, admitting he had spent much of it “consumed by fear and shame” as he hid his sexuality.

Robbie Rogers, first openly gay male professional athlete in USA pro sports, retires Robbie Rogers, first openly gay male professional athlete in USA pro sports, retires In 2013 LA Galaxy's Robbie Rogers spoke to Geoff Shreeves about becoming the first openly gay man to compete in Major League Soccer

Rogers revealed he had made the decision to come out for his own “sanity” in an interview with Sky Sports in 2013, and the 18-times capped USA international has urged those “still frightened to share their truth with the world” to come out in a long statement on his Instagram.

Full Robbie Rogers statement

“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.

Rogers’ stand out story

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“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.

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.

A post shared by Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) on Nov 7, 2017 at 11:47am PST

“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.”

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