Jason Collins and Brittny Griner tore down barriers in professional basketball and now it’s Robbie Rogers’ turn to do the same for American soccer. According to a report in USA Today, Rogers will sign with the Los Angeles Galaxy and become the first openly gay MLS soccer in the history of the sport.
Rogers came out as gay back in February but he also quit soccer as well. But Rogers says that he had an epiphany when he quit soccer and feels compelled to not only come back and play because he loves and misses the game, but there are legions of gay fans who could use a role model to look up to and Rogers wants to help in any way he can.
“I seriously felt like a coward,” Rogers told USA Today in an exclusive interview. “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?”
Rogers is not only looking to break barriers in the MLS, but he’s hoping to earn a spot on the 2014 U.S. National team and play in the World Cup. For now though, Rogers will focus on helping the Galaxy in anyway he can as they recover from losing the talent of David Beckham who retired and left the team earlier this month.
As for backlash for coming out as gay, Rogers says that Jason Collins coming out helped and that he’s not going to let anyone tell him who he can and can’t be or what he can or can’t believe in. Whether it’s from opposing fans or religious groups, Rogers says the he is who is and no one can make him feel anymore free than he does right now.
“I’m a soccer player, I’m Christian, and I’m gay,” Rogers said. “Those are things that people might say wouldn’t go well together. But my family raised me to be an individual and to stand up for what I believe in.”
Currently the Chicago Fire hold Rogers’ contract rights so there will be more development on that front but Rogers has stated he has no intention of returning to Chicago.