Robbie Rogers, the L.A. Galaxy’s openly gay defender, has announced he’s retiring from professional soccer. When Rogers joined the Los Angeles soccer team in 2013, he was the only openly gay male on a pro-sports team. With his announcement that he is retiring, there are no out gay men on a professional sports team in the United States.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from the game of soccer,” the 30-year-old said in a statement. “It is through this game that I have experienced some of my greatest achievements both professionally and personally and I am forever indebted to the numerous individuals — coaches, teammates, staff and fans — that have helped me during this journey.”
He continues, “I would like to thank Bruce Arena for encouraging me to return to professional soccer after I came out as a gay man. I’d also like to thank all of my L.A. Galaxy teammates for accepting me from the first day I stepped back into the locker room at StubHub Center.”
“Finally, I’d like to thank the fans for their continued support throughout my career. I’ll never forget the feeling of returning to the field in my first game back. That feeling of acceptance and support pushed me as an athlete and as a person. Having the opportunity to win an MLS Cup in my hometown, with my hometown club as an openly gay man will be something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Robbie Rogers was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his fiancé, American film and TV writer Greg Berlanti, and their son, Caleb.
Football player Michael Sam and basketball player Jason Collins had joined Rogers as out gay men on professional sports teams in the United States in years past, but Sam and Collins are no longer playing as well.