CARSON, Calif. -- Southern California native and former Leeds United winger Robbie Rogers made a brave statement on Friday by announcing that he is gay and is stepping away from the game at the age of 25.
The former Columbus Crew (2007-20011) and U.S. national team midfielder revealed the news on his personal website and shortly after his announcement, players, coaches, and fans from offered their support including Galaxy center back and former Maryland teammate A.J. DeLaGarza.
"He is one of the nicest kids that I've ever met. He's a great player and coming out is brave of him," said DeLaGarza. "To live like that for however long that he's known that has sure been tough, but he's happy now and we're all happy for him. All the support that he's gotten is great and it's going to make it that much easier on him...In college, he was one of the best players that I ever played with. The things that he can do with the ball are just amazing and he's had good years in Europe and MLS and is one of the best players that I've ever played with."
Brian Perk, who was teammates with Rogers with the U.S. Under-20 national team offered his own support and admitted that he'd be welcomed with open arms if he decided to return to MLS. Rogers' MLS rights were dealt to the Chicago Fire in a trade with the Crew last month.
"He was a great soccer player and a good guy. It's really disappointing because he's right in the prime of his career by playing at Leeds and I think that we'd like to have him here," said Perk. "Regardless of his personal preferences, as the player that I knew then we'd love to have him here. Maybe in some locker rooms would people be treated differently, but I don't think that he would here. I consider Robbie a friend and I don't care what he does in his private life."