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Professional soccer play Robbie Rogers came out as gay in a post on his personal website under the heading “The Next Chapter.” He also revealed that he’s walking away from the sport.
A native of Los Angeles, Rogers, 25, played as a midfielder for the Columbus Crew for five seasons before moving to the English club Leeds United. He currently resides in London and is co-owner of Halsey, which produces menswear.
Rogers played 18 games for the U.S. men’s national team, including at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Rogers is only the second professional North American soccer player to come out. He was preceded by David Testo, who today told FOX Soccer that the coming out of a national team player is a major milestone.
“I couldn’t be happier or prouder to hear it,” Testo said. “This is a big moment for soccer and for the movement we so desperately need. He’s part of the ladder that we have to climb to ultimately eliminate homophobia in the sport. It’s a big advancement for our movement.”
FOX also reported that the American soccer community inundated Rogers’ Twitter account with praise and congratulations.
But FOX pointed out that Anton Hysen of Sweden is the only active out player among the 500,000 soccer professionals worldwide.
In Rogers’ post, he wrote about the pain and fear that accompanied his years of secrecy.
“Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.
“Secrets can cause so much internal damage. 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.”