Longtime MLS and USMNT player Robbie Rogers announced his retirement Tuesday at the age of 30.
A terrific career on the field was taken into a historic stratosphere in 2013, when Rogers became the first openly gay male to play in a major North American sports league.
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Rogers did not play this season after playing 24 matches including playoffs for LA last season.
Here’s what Rogers had to say about his retirement, thanking his legendary Galaxy coach for support and encouragement to play after coming out. From LAGalaxy.com:
“I would like to thank Bruce Arena for encouraging me to return to professional soccer after I came out as a gay man. I’d also like to thank all of my LA Galaxy teammates for accepting me from the first day I stepped back into the locker room at StubHub Center. Finally, I’d like to thank the fans for their continued support throughout my career. I’ll never forget the feeling of returning to the field in my first game back. 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. I will remain deeply connected to this sport and its surrounding community. I leave the game full of pride of what I have accomplished as a person and a player. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
Rogers finishes with 18 caps and three goals, the first coming in January 2009 against Sweden and the last in Slovenia in 2011.
After more than 100 matches for the Columbus Crew, Jurgen Klinsmann helped Rogers get a run with Leeds United. His stay was dogged by injuries and featured a loan to Stevenage before he returned home.
He will walk away from the game with one of the most important assists in U.S. men’s national team history, sending in the corner kick nodded home from Jonathan Bornstein to clinch the top spot in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in 2009: