Lifestyle & Belief

Robbie Rogers leaves soccer after coming out


Robbie Rogers controls the ball in Columbus, Ohio on Sept. 24, 2011.


Jamie Sabau

Robbie Rogers, a former national US soccer player, said he could not remain in the sport after revealing he was gay.

"In football it's obviously impossible to come out because no one has done it. No one. It's crazy and sad," Rogers told The Guardian in his first interview since coming out in February.

Rogers, 25, said he was concerned how the media and public would treat him after they learned the news. 

"If you're playing well it will be reported as: 'The gay footballer is playing well.' And if you have a bad game it'll be: 'Aw, that gay dude, he's struggling because he's gay,'" Rogers said

Rogers revealed his sexuality in February in a short and personal post on his website in what has been called a LetterOfLife:

"For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams," Rodgers wrote.

Rogers told The New York Times "posting that letter was the second" best thing he had done in his life. The first was coming out to his family.

Only two other professional soccer players have come out of the closet.

English player Justin Fashanu was the first in the UK to tell the public he was gay. He took his own life in 1998.

Anton Hysen, who plays in a Swedish league, announced he was gay during a magazine interview in 2011.

In his interview with The Guardian, Rogers said he believed the sport would change, and that someday - though who knows how soon - openly gay men and women would be comfortable playing professional soccer.

"Yes. I know things will change. There will be gay footballers. I just don't know when and how long it will take. The next step is how do you create an atmosphere where men and women feel it's OK to come out and continue to play? It's a great question. Football has so much history. It's a great sport with so much culture and tradition. But I'm positive there will be changes," Rogers said. 

[View the story "Support for Robbie Rogers" on Storify]