Robbie Rogers Debuts For LA Galaxy As First Openly Gay Athlete In A Major Men's Sport
Robbie Keane may have had a hat trick and an assist in the LA Galaxy's 4-0 trouncing of the Seattle Sounders, but he wasn't the Robbie getting all the attention last night. Instead, it was Robbie Rogers, who subbed into the game in the 77th minute to become the first openly gay athlete to compete in a major men's team sport.
A former MLS champion with the Columbus Crew, Rogers came out in February of this year, revealing the news in a personal blog post entitled "The Next Chapter". At the time, Rogers indicated he was stepping away from the game, having most recently played for Leeds United and Stevenage in England.
It didn't take long for Rogers to find a way back into the game, with the Galaxy openly welcoming him for a tryout. Signing him did not come without a cost - LA had to send leading goalscorer (and perhaps the best goalkeeper in their lineup) Mike Magee to Chicago in exchange for his rights. But on Saturday, the team announced that they had signed him, and his transfer certificate arrived in time for him to be eligible for game day selection Sunday.
Rogers didn't contribute much—a few touches on the ball, three passes—but as a symbolic return to the field, it was a big contribution to the sporting world. Rogers spoke after the match of his nerves: "I guess part of me was just afraid - not afraid, but a little nervous, I guess. I understand that, I guess, historically this is a big thing, but for me, it's just another soccer game. So I've kind of been battling with both of those things: 'OK, a soccer game: I've done this a million times.' But then, obviously, I'm not naïve, I know people are watching.
Watch Rogers subbing into the game:
And here's his post-game press conference: