U.S. winger Rogers comes out as gay and steps back from game

Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:13pm EST
 
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - United States international Robbie Rogers has come out as gay and says he is stepping away from soccer.

The 25-year-old, who recently played in England for Leeds United and Stevenage and has 18 caps for the U.S. team, wrote on his website - under the title "The Next Chapter" - that he had been afraid to raise the issue.

There are no openly gay players playing in Major League Soccer or in the English professional leagues.

"Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay," he wrote on Friday.

"For the past 25 years I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.

"Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of the Olympics, dreams of making my family proud. What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?"

Rogers made his name in MLS with Columbus Crew and was part of the U.S. team at the Beijing Olympics and narrowly missed out on a place in the U.S. World Cup squad in 2010.

"STEP AWAY"   Continued...

 
Midfielder Robbie Rogers of the U.S. national soccer team is seen in this undated handout. REUTERS/U.S. Soccer/Handout