Robbie Rogers called time on his groundbreaking 11-year professional playing career on Tuesday, a run that included two MLS Cup championships and the distinction of becoming the first openly gay male athlete to compete in a top North American professional sports league.
Rogers, 30, joined MLS in 2007 after leading the University of Maryland to an NCAA title in his single season of college play and trying his hand in Europe with Dutch side SC Heerenveen. He helped Columbus Crew SC win the 2008 MLS Cup and back-to-back Supporters’ Shields in 2008 and 2009, earning MLS All-Star honors in both seasons.
After a stint in England with Leeds United, Rogers publicly revealed his sexuality and briefly retired in 2013 before returning to MLS to join his hometown club the LA Galaxy later that year, making history as an out athlete in the process.
He would make 78 regular-season appearances and and 11 playoff appearances for the Galaxy, including a starting role as LA won the 2014 MLS Cup on home soil. Injury problems have dogged him in recent years, and he was placed on LA’s Season Ending Injury (SEI) list in May following offseason surgery to address nerve damage sustained in his left ankle.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from the game of soccer,” said Rogers in a statement. “Having the opportunity to win an MLS Cup in my hometown, with my hometown club as an openly gay man will be something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I will remain deeply connected to this sport and its surrounding community. I leave the game full of pride of what I have accomplished as a person and a player. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
Internationally, Rogers recorded 18 international caps with the US national team and represented the US extensively at the U-23, U-20, U-18 and U-17 levels, including a key role on the 2008 US Olympic Team that competed in Beijing, China. He finishes his MLS career with 16 goals and 24 assists in 204 overall appearances in regular-season and postseason action.
“Robbie Rogers has been an integral part of our club and our community since he joined the LA Galaxy in 2013,” said Galaxy president Chris Klein. “During his time in Los Angeles, Robbie has been an elite athlete and a good teammate. He helped lead our club to a championship in 2014 while breaking barriers and being a force for positive change in our sport and in our community. We want to thank Robbie for his time with the LA Galaxy and wish him the best of luck in the next step of his career.”
You can read more about Rogers' decision to retire in this interview at LAGalaxy.com.