Having returned to professional sport after a short retirement, openly gay player Robbie Rogers is with US team LA Galaxy, coming back to excellent support and a win in his debut game.
Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers made his historic debut in Major League Soccer, playing for LA Galaxy, who won against the Seattle Sounders 4-0 last night.
He made the debut less than 24 hours after officially signing for the team, as MLS confirmed it had received his international transfer papers, stepping off the bench to a standing ovation from Galaxy fans.
Writing on Instagram, Rogers said: “An exciting future lies ahead, not only for me but for our society,” beside a picture of him posing with the LA Galaxy scarf and kit.
He had returned to training with the Los Angeles team three weeks ago, and is now the first openly gay Major League Soccer player.
He said he was inspired to return to the sport after attending the Nike Be True LGBT Youth Forum in Portland last month.
“I seriously felt like a coward,” he said. “These kids are standing up for themselves and changing the world, and I’m 25, I have a platform and a voice to be a role model. How much of a coward was I to not step up to the plate.
“I was a little scared to put myself back in that situation but after the first few days I was like, ‘wow, I miss this, I love this,’” Rogers said.
“Once I got on the field, I felt really normal. More normal than I ever did in the past. I just want to be able to compete. Every day in training, make my team better and prove myself.”
Rogers would no longer be the only openly gay Major League player, since in April NBA star Jason Collins confirmed he is gay in an article to Sports Illustrated magazine. He said: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”