Robbie Rogers seems set to resume his MLS career in 2013, but that may not happen if he is forced to join the Chicago Fire.
Rogers promptly retired after coming out as gay in January, but in an interview with "Soccer Today" on ESPN Radio in Dallas (103.3 FM), Rogers believes that there is "a really good chance” that he’ll return to soccer in 2013. The 25-year-old trained with the LA Galaxy this week and admitted that he was encouraged by his fitness level and his reception within the Galaxy locker room.
"To be honest, I had no plans of going back to football at all and definitely not this soon," Rogers told the station. "But I was looking over some video clips that MLS sent to I think it was CNN or ABC of me just training, fooling around and just enjoying football. ... And it kind of just like [made him say], 'Oh my gosh, I miss this stuff.
"I just need a bit more time to evaluate and to see how things play out, but I've really enjoyed myself [in Galaxy training]. It feels normal to be back. I've grown up playing soccer my whole life. I've always been on a soccer field, so I feel at home on a soccer field."
The news of Rogers considering resuming his professional career corresponds with the announcement by NBA center Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay athlete in one of the U.S. four major professional sports in an open essay in Sports Illustrated. But if Rogers does return to MLS, it likely won’t be with the Chicago Fire, who currently hold his rights after a trade with the Columbus Crew and have expressed interest in retaining the U.S. international.
"I don't want to go to Chicago," Rogers said. "I think if it comes down to you can only play in Chicago, then I probably won't go back. I need to do it somewhere where I'm totally 100 percent comfortable so ... I would most likely do it closest to my family. … I'm not closing the doors or saying no to anyone else that I've talked to but ... that would be my priority."
He admits that the Galaxy locker room has been “normal” while all the players have been “very welcoming and cool.” As for his abilities on the soccer field, Rogers is pleased with his training level during his week of training with LA.
"I'm doing a lot better than I thought I would. Maybe it's that I just feel like myself. I don't know what it is. I'm not that out of shape, and I think the Galaxy is a bit surprised because I haven't trained,” Rogers said. “I've been running and lifting but I haven't touched a football for three and a half, four months. So I've been a lot better than I thought I would be."