Robbie Rogers, once of Leeds, comes out as gay and retires aged 25

Former Leeds winger Rogers comes out but announces his retirement aged just 25

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

17:42 GMT, 15 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 15 February 2013

Former Leeds United winger Robbie Rogers has written a blog in which he comes out as openly gay and retires from the game.

The 25-year-old, who was released by Leeds in the summer and joined Stevenage on loan, becomes the first professional footballer in Britain to come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

He also played for America 18 times, including all three of their games at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Breaking new ground: Robbie Rogers, shown playing for Columbus Crew, has released a blog in which he comes out as openly gay, though confirms his retirement from football aged just 25

Breaking new ground: Robbie Rogers, shown playing for Columbus Crew, has released a blog in which he comes out as openly gay, though confirms his retirement from football aged just 25

Pedigree: Rogers has played for USA

Pedigree: Rogers has played for USA

In a blog entitled ‘The Next Chapter’,
Rogers writes: ‘Things are never what they seem. My whole life I have
felt different. To overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith
in your purpose.

‘For the past 25 year I have been
afraid to show who I really was because of 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.

‘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. 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.

‘I always thought I could hide this
secret. 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.’

Rogers is from Southern California and
has more than 75,000 followers because of his profile playing for
Columbus Crew in America’s Major League Soccer.

He finishes his blog with: ‘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. 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.

'Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.

'Honesty is a bitch but makes life so
simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and
live my life as my creator intended.’