CARSON, Calif. (AP) - Robbie Rogers, the LA Galaxy defender who became the first openly gay male athlete in a major North American professional sport, is retiring from soccer.
The 30-year-old Rogers announced his retirement Tuesday through the Galaxy, saying he made the decision “with mixed emotions.” He missed the entire 2017 season due to injury.
“I will remain deeply connected to this sport and its surrounding community,” Rogers added. “I leave the game full of pride of what I have accomplished as a person and a player.”
Rogers is a 10-year MLS veteran and two-time All-Star who won league championships in 2008 and 2014. But he struggled with injuries throughout his professional career, and he was ruled out for the current season in May because of nerve damage in his left ankle, requiring surgery.
Rogers came out while announcing his retirement in 2013 after being released by the English club Leeds. That retirement lasted less than three months before he signed with the Galaxy, determined to become a role model for gay youth.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of returning to the field in my first game back,” Rogers said. “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.”
Rogers was a part of the Galaxy’s MLS Cup championship team in 2014, and he became one of the top left backs in MLS before injuries derailed his career.
“Robbie Rogers has been an integral part of our club and our community since he joined the LA Galaxy in 2013,” Galaxy President Chris Klein said. “During his time in Los Angeles, Robbie has been an elite athlete and a good teammate. He helped lead our club to a championship in 2014 while breaking barriers and being a force for positive change in our sport and in our community.”
He also made 18 appearances for the U.S., including participation in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Rogers is a Southern California native who played college soccer at Maryland, winning the NCAA title in 2005 before playing professionally in the Netherlands. He signed with the Columbus Crew in 2007, joining current Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid and winning his first MLS title in 2008.
Rogers is engaged to Greg Berlanti, a prominent writer and producer of several television series. They have a son, Caleb.
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