Former Leeds player Robbie Rogers slated to return as first openly gay footballer
Robbie Rogers, the former Leeds United and Stevenage player who retired from football earlier this year, is set to return to play Major League Soccer in the United States.
A press conference has been called for later today by the Los Angeles Galaxy team, at which they will announce an unspecified “player acquisition”.
According to USA Today, that player is 26-year-old Rogers, who announced in conjunction with his retirement from football in February that he is gay.
Rogers had returned to training with the Los Angeles team three weeks ago. The USA Today report now confirms that he will become 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.”