In a revealing and personal blog post written in the early hours of the morning in London on Friday, former Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers announced that he’s gay and that he’s stepping away from professional soccer.
The 25 year-old Rogers, who played for the Crew from 2007-11 before unsuccessfully trying his hand with English sides Leeds United and Stevenage, writes that he “could not be happier” with his decision, and that now he is a “free man” with a new lease on life.
“Secrets can cause so much internal damage,” Rogers writes in the roughly 400-word post. “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,” he adds. “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.”
Rogers won an MLS Cup with the Crew in 2008 and boasts 18 caps with the US men’s national team. He was invited to former US head coach Bob Bradley’s camp ahead of the 2010 World Cup but did not make the roster for South Africa, and scored the equalizing goal against Mexico in a 1-1 draw in Philadelphia in Jurgen Klinsmann’s first game on the job in August 2011. He also played on the US Olympic team during the Beijing Olympics.
He appeared in only four games for Leeds and another nine while on loan for League 1 side Stevenage after he departed MLS. His rights were part of a recent trade deal between the Crew and Chicago Fire, meaning that if he ever returns to MLS, the Fire would have the option to bring him on board
That seems unlikely for now, however, with Rogers intent on taking a break from the game.
“Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football,” he writes. “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 [expletive] 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.”