Upon hearing that Rogers had “unretired” and was currently training with his hometown LA Galaxy on Tuesday, head coach Sigi Schmid seemed particularly eager to be reunited with a player he knows quite well.
“I’m happy for him,” said Schmid, whose relationship with Rogers goes back to when the player was just nine years old. “I know he feels much happier now that he’s been able to express himself. I hope his comeback goes well. I hope he doesn’t play for the Galaxy. I’d rather see him play for us.”
Although the Sounders are reasonably deep at wide midfielder, Schmid said “there’s always a need for a player of that quality.” Only 25, Rogers has significant international experience at both the youth and senior national team levels, is a former Best XI player in MLS and was under contract at England’s Leeds United before taking a playing hiatus and announcing he was gay.
A move to the Sounders could make some sense. Rogers was college teammates with Marc Burch and remains good friends with Brad Evans. He also played for Schmid at various levels, including that Best XI season in 2008 – during which Rogers was an integral part of Schmid's Supporters' Shield/MLS Cup double-winning Columbus Crew.
Schmid was quick to acknowledge that Rogers’ MLS rights are currently held by the Chicago Fire, who acquired them in an offseason trade.
When asked if Seattle may pursue a trade, Schmid said, “I don’t think it’s at that stage yet. But we’ll see.”
Whether the Sounders are able to acquire Rogers, Schmid was confident MLS would prove a welcoming place.
“I think your sexual preference should not determine how good you are as a player or your abilities as a player,” Schmid said. “He’s proven himself as a player and that’s what he should be judged on. When he’s on the soccer field, that’s all that matters.”