Things are moving awfully fast for young Robbie Rogers these days. Maybe even faster than we thought.
It has been just three months since Rogers retired, creating that big stir with his revelation of being gay. He said he was done with soccer at the time, for the foreseeable future, at least.
It’s been just days since Rogers was found training with the Galaxy. It sounded like a pretty casual bit – kicking the tires, so to speak, on a return to the professional game which once made him such a promising star.
Sunday morning Rogers said there was “a really good chance” that he would be in a Major League Soccer uniform this season. Rogers said so during an interview on Soccer Today – full disclosure, that is a radio show-podcast that I co-host alongside ESPN’s Marc Stein; the show link is here, although today’s podcast has yet to be posted.
What Rogers said after a week of training with the Galaxy:
“To be honest, I had no plans of going back to football at all and definitely not this soon. But I was looking over some video clips that MLS sent to, I think it was CNN or ABC, of me just training, fooling around and just enjoying football. … And it kind of just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I miss this stuff.’
“I just need a bit more time to evaluate and to see how things play out, but I’ve really enjoyed myself [with the Galaxy]. It feels normal to be back. I’ve grown up playing soccer my whole life. I’ve always been on a soccer field, so I feel at home on a soccer field.”
Rogers admitted he was nervous the first time he walked into the locker room but soon felt totally comfortable again and completely welcome.
The next hitch in all this, however, is that Rogers’ MLS rights belong to Chicago. And it sounds like he has no plans to be a member of Frank Klopas’ team at Toyota Park. Rogers prefers California and the Galaxy, where he was born and raised, where he trained last summer while getting in shape for the coming England campaign and where he has a good relationship with manager Bruce Arena.
I don’t want to go to Chicago. I think if it comes down to you can only play in Chicago, then I probably won’t go back. I need to do it somewhere where I’m totally 100 percent comfortable so … I would most likely do it closest to my family. … I’m not closing the doors or saying no to anyone else that I’ve talked to but … that would be my priority.”
As I said earlier this week, this would be a huge “win” for Major League Soccer. Getting Rogers back in an MLS uniform wouldn’t just be great for what it demonstrates about cultural acceptance, but because the league needs all the quality it can get, and the more American-born quality the better.