Robbie Rogers, an American professional soccer player, admitted on his blog today that he’s gay before saying he will step away from the game.
The 25-year-old Californian said during his whole life he’s always felt different and “afraid to show whom I really was.”
“I always thought I could hide this secret,” Rogers wrote. “Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
“Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.”
Rogers played 18 games for the US national team and was named to Major League Soccer’s all-star team – the Best XI – during his time with the Columbus Crew.
He also played professionally with Leeds United and Stevenage in England as well as Heerenveen in the Netherlands. He hadn’t played since Leeds released him in January, USA Today reported.
Those who knew him expressed unrelenting support and offered their congratulations.
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“Brave men like you will make it so that one day there’s no need for an announcement. That day can’t arrive soon enough,” US forward Eddie Pope said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Much love and respect for you,” former teammate Herculez Gomez added.
David Testo of the Montreal Impact also came out recently, although he hasn’t played since the announcement after the 2011 season.
English pro Justin Fashanu came out in 1990, but committed suicide eight years later, Fox Sports said.
Clark Carlisle, who heads the Professional Footballers’ Association union in England, told Fox Sports that he’s spoken with eight gay players, although none wish to admit their sexuality in public.
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