Rogers is the first active MLS player to publicly reveal that he's gay.
“Secrets can cause so much internal damage,” explained Rogers. “People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently."
"First day gaining work experience @MensHealthMag in London. Hopefully goes better then my debut at Leeds. #needahelmet #stillrecovering," tweeted Rogers.
Rogers' announcement lights up Internet
Twitter blew up with the news and Rogers immediately received overwhelming support from every corner of MLS - players, coaches, pundits and fans. However, considering the strong response, it's understandable that Rogers might choose to be on another continent when the news broke. While it's difficult enough to be the first to reveal a gay identity in a rugged professional sport like soccer, dealing with the daily fallout on and off the field could be overly wearying.
It's a shame to see him go because Rogers is a talented, entertaining player with a lot to offer MLS. This offseason, Rogers was part of a trade from the Crew to Chicago Fire, so if he returns to MLS, the Fire will hold his rights.
Roger's announcement game shortly after the Philadelphia Union announced a disturbing promotional night with Chick-Fil-A, a franchise run by right wing zealot Dan Cathy, who has donated millions of corporate dollars to anti-gay groups. The discriminatory policies endorsed by Chick-Fil-A collide with the MLS campaign "Don't Cross the Line," which promotes zero tolerance for discrimination against race, religion, gender and sexual preference.
Rogers, 25, played for the Columbus Crew from 2007-11, winning MLS Cup in 2008, and moving on to brief stints with English sides Leeds United and Stevenage in 2012. Rogers holds 18 caps with the USMNT and scored the equalizing goal against Mexico in a 1-1 draw in Jurgen Klinsmann’s first game as head coach in August 2011. Rogers also played on the US Olympic team during the Beijing Olympics.
“I always thought I could hide this secret,” wrote Rogers. “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," continued Rogers. "It's time to discover myself away from football. It's 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision."