Robbie Rogers outlines hopes for USMNT return, but first "I need to prove myself to the Galaxy"
Life as an openly gay athlete has already brought some unexpected developments for Robbie Rogers, and the LA Galaxy's newest acquisition is hoping he can earn the opportunity to create a few more – including a return to the US national team.
"I'd love to be back with the US team – it's probably been two years since I played for the US,” said Rogers in an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday morning. "But first I have to get back to playing well with my club team. I need to prove myself to the Galaxy and be successful there, and help our team win games.
LISTEN (above): Rogers on Dan Patrick Show
"So that's what's most important right now. But I was close to the last World Cup team and I'd love to be in the same position [in 2014]. We'll see."
Rogers owns 18 US caps and scored the first goal of coach Jurgen Klinsmann's reign, the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Mexico in Philadelphia on Aug. 10, 2011. But he's faded out of the picture due to injuries and scant playing time in England.
An out-and-out winger, Rogers' speed, work rate and comfort with both feet offer useful tools for Klinsmann's preferred style of play. The two men were actually teammates a decade ago on Orange County Blue Star, a Southern California PDL team where Rogers was a teen phenom playing up in age while Klinsmann – playing under the assumed name Jay Goppingen – was a 38-year-old quietly seeking to keep playing after his pro career was over.
But like his talented Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan, Rogers will have to earn his international return with sustained excellence in MLS play.
Patrick and Rogers also spoke in depth about his coming out, his return to soccer, the road ahead and even some real talk about “flopping,” the gamesmanship officially known as simulation.
While it wasn't his original intention – “I didn't know what to expect, really, and I didn't really care at that point,” he said – Rogers underlined the sense of mission he feels now that his public revelation of his sexuality has been so well received. And he expressed his hopes that he can “be a voice” for younger athletes who struggle with the same issues in anonymity.
“I have a platform and I believe God put me in this place for a reason,” he told the veteran sports television personality, “because I know not everyone receives the same amount of support as what I did. I very much believe that God is having me do this, and has put me on this platform, to be a voice for those kids and other people with differences.”
U.S. Soccer released a statement of support for Rogers when he came out about his sexuality in February.
“As a federation, we support all our athletes who have had the courage to address this deeply personal topic,” the statement read. “We are proud of Robbie. He has been an outstanding representative of our national team program for many years. We support him and wish him great success in the future.”