The hottest commodity flirting with Major League Soccer right now isn't Frank Lampard or Herculez Gomez. It's Robbie Rogers.
Since the former Columbus Crew man and onetime US international returned to the training pitch last week, he's been the most talked-about import in the league, with three teams publicly saying they were interested in his services.
But what does the man himself think? For the first time on Sunday, Rogers provided some insight on what his future holds. A return to MLS? Looks like it. But fans of the Chicago Fire – who hold his MLS rights – may not like his explanation.
"I don’t want to go to Chicago," Rogers told the Soccer Today podcast. "I think if it comes down to, 'You can only play in Chicago,' then I probably won’t go back. I need to do it somewhere where I’m totally 100 percent comfortable so … I would most likely do it closest to my family."
Rogers, who grew up not far from the Home Depot Center, has been training with the LA Galaxy for the past week at the invitation of the club – and with the permission of the Fire. It's been his first official work with a professional team since his February announcement that he is gay and was taking an indefinite break from soccer.
Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas told the media on Monday that his club has not had any trade discussions with the Galaxy yet, but that they hope to speak with Rogers or his agent this week.
Fire president Javier Leon told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday that the Fire still have all intentions of bringing Rogers to Chicago, despite the most recent comments from the former Crew star.
“He's a young guy with so much potential ahead of him and we still have the interest in having the opportunity to sit down and speak with him about what kind of opportunity he may have with the Fire,” Leon told the Tribune. “That's my expectation after speaking with his agent; we're talking about doing something [this] week.”
Rogers told Soccer Today there is "a really good chance" he'll be back.
“I just need a bit more time to evaluate and to see how things play out," he continued, "but I’ve really enjoyed myself [with the Galaxy]. It feels normal to be back."
Klopas, meanwhile, insisted that if the Fire do end up trading away the rights for Rogers, they expect a fair price.
“We have his rights. They know how we feel," Klopas said. "He’s a high-quality player and if anybody wants to talk [to us] they have to approach it in that situation.”