Two last points on the Robbie Rogers trade news

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Looking back at it all, his ground-breaking announcement, his near brush with wildly premature retirement and his re-introduction into professional soccer, even Robbie Rogers is a little confused about why it was all such a big deal?

And what a wonderful development that is – not just for Rogers, but for all of us. Inching toward a time when none of this is a big deal says good things about societal progress.

Here’s what Rogers, who will soon be back on an MLS field after the LA Galaxy acquired his rights from the Chicago Fire, told the Associated Press on Friday:

I don’t know what I was so afraid of. It’s been such a positive experience for me. The one thing I’ve learned from all of this is being gay is not that big of a deal to people.

“People are just really growing and accepting and loving. Those other things are just not that important to them. I think as the younger get older and the generations come and go, I think times are just becoming more accepting.”

He had hints that things might just break this way back in February, when he broke the news on his own blog – leaving the game while announcing he was gay. The soccer nation was overwhelmingly supportive then.

But as recently as three weeks ago, as the former U.S. international stepped back into a locker room, joining the LA Galaxy for training, Rogers wondered how he would be seen and accepted.

Quickly, though, the Galaxy winger figured out that he was just another pair of feet, just another body in L.A. practice gear, same as the others.

He will surely be greeted a little differently than the others upon his first few appearances, positive acknowledgments of his courageous actions, if I’m guessing. (Even from opposing fans. I think … )

Soon enough, the newness and news value well wear off and Rogers will be … just another man in a Galaxy kit.

(MORE: Looking at the trade from Chicago’s side)

(MORE: Looking at the trade from the LA Galaxy’s side)

The other thing to say about Friday’s big MLS development is this:

Good on Chicago for not relenting on this one. By the looks of it, the Fire hammered out a pretty good exchange for Rogers’ rights (which they acquired from Columbus) for Mike Magee, one of the league’s scoring leaders this year.

It would have been easy for Chicago to cave here, to take 50 cents on the dollar, so to speak, as pressure mounted to get Rogers back in the league. Chicago didn’t seem to have a lot of leverage here, especially once Rogers said he just didn’t want to play in Illinois. (It was about his family in California, not about any disdain for figures around Toyota Park.)

MLS can always use another skilled set of feet, especially of the Born in the U.S.A. variety. But there was also the PR bonanza to be considered here; getting Rogers back into the league will help draw attention to a league that can always use more of it.

SB Nation’s Jeremiah Oshan writes about that one here, making the point that league critics absolutely cannot complain that the Galaxy got a sweetheart deal on this one. In the end, it may be a better deal for L.A.; we’ll need months or years to sort that one out. But sitting here today, it looks to almost everyone as though Chicago got more than fair value here.

(MORE: First chance to see Rogers with LA Galaxy will be … )

Scenes from around the UCL final

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We’re just hours away from kickoff in Kiev, Ukraine, and the streets are lined with football supporters ahead of the year’s biggest club final.

Liverpool and Real Madrid will meet at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Saturday, as the latter aims for its fourth UEFA Champions League crown in five seasons.

Let’s take a look at the sights around Ukraine and abroad ahead of the UCL final.


Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox took to Twitter to show their support for the Reds, with both teams owned by John Henry.

Los Blancos go for an unprecedented fourth UCL title in five years, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. aim to assert their dominance once again.

Reds legend John Arne Riise took part in Liverpool’s last UCL title in 2004/05, and holds the giant piece of silverware once again.

Supporters from both sides are out in full force in Kiev, with the Reds hoping to spoil yet another UCL triumph for Madrid.

Supporters all over the world will have their eyes on the most important club competition in football, with the Champions League hosting viewing parties in Shanghai, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Report: Napoli’s Sarri in as next Chelsea manager?

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Antonio Conte hasn’t been relieved of his managerial duties at Stamford Bridge; at least not yet, however, reports out of Italy are suggesting the Blues are in line for a new boss.

Gazzetta del Sport is reporting that Chelsea is preparing to hire Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, who remains under contract with the Serie A side.

The report says that Sarri is preparing his staff to make the move to London, although both managers are currently tied to their clubs.

Additionally, Sky Italy has stated that an agreement in principle has been reached between Sarri and Chelsea, assuming Conte leaves the Blues.

Chelsea wouldn’t have to pay Sarri’s $9 million release clause if they wait until after Thursday to complete a deal.

Conte endured an up-and-down 2017/18 season with the Blues, however, Chelsea did manage to close the year on a high note with an FA Cup title.

Meanwhile, Sarri has held his post at Napoli since 2015, guiding the club to top three finishes in all three seasons in Italy’s top flight.

Video: Modric, Milner show off in training ahead of UCL final

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The UEFA Champions League final hasn’t even kicked off yet, and Liverpool and Real Madrid are already trying to show each other up with some gorgeous golazos.

[ MORE: Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s UCL final ]

Both sides had their final training sessions on Friday, and there were several unforgettable moment for each club.

We start with Real, who even got manager Zinedine Zidane involved in a crossing and finishing drill with some of his players.

This is where Luka Modric’s stunning volley came into play (below).

Meanwhile, in an inter-squad scrimmage amongst Liverpool’s team, James Milner unleashed this brilliant curling effort into the top corner (below).

LIVE: Aston Villa, Fulham battle for Premier League promotion

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The task is quite simple for the two sides competing at Wembley Stadium on Saturday; win and you’re back in the Premier League.

Aston Villa and Fulham will battle it out for the third and final promotion spot into the PL (12 p.m. ET) after boasting tremendous 2017/18 campaigns.

LIVE UPDATES FOR THE PLAYOFF FINAL 

For both clubs, there is a significance about restoring their role as a PL club, with Fulham last competing in the top flight four seasons ago and Villa two seasons removed.


Aston Villa: Johnstone; Chester, Snodgrass, Grealish, Hourihane, Jedinak, Hutton, Terry, Elmohamady, Adomah, Grabban. Bench: Whelan, Hogan, Bree, Onomah, Bjarnason, Kodjia, Bunn.

Fulham: Bettenelli; Fredericks, Sessegnon, Odoi, McDonald, Johansen, Cairney, Ream, Targett, Mitrovic, Kamara. Bench: Button, Fonte, Ayite, Norwood, Piazon, Christie, Kalas.