CARSON, Calif. – For the first time since his announcement that he is gay, Robbie Rogers trained with a professional soccer team on Tuesday, training with the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.
According to head coach Bruce Arena, the Galaxy have been in discussions with Rogers for some time to allow him to train with the club. The 25-year-old Southern California native revealed that he is gay in February and promptly retired from the game of soccer.
A potential Rogers return would be historic as no publically gay player has ever played in American sports. But apart from the historic implications, how did Rogers look on the field on Tuesday?
“It’s preseason for him. You could tell he was a little nervous,” said Magee, who has been friends with Rogers for nearly 10 years. “I spoke to him after and he was saying that he was feeling like an old man and I told him that I know how he feels.”
Should Rogers choose to resume is professional career in MLS, his rights are owned by the Chicago Fire, who acquired him during preseason in a trade with the Columbus Crew. Rogers spent five years with Columbus before departing for England where he spent time with Leeds United and Stevenage.
Galaxy veteran Landon Donovan told reporters that it was exciting to play with Rogers, who is still looking to regain fitness and admitted that he hopes that the Galaxy can work out a deal with Chicago.
“It was fun to play with him. He’s been out awhile so it’s going to take him awhile to get back into it and he would admit that,” said Donovan. “Hopefully he does well, my personal hope is that we can sign him and we can work out a way to work out a trade with Chicago.
“I think that beyond the immediate soccer part, I think there’s much bigger positive consequences that could come from that and we’re all hopeful that he can get fit and Bruce wants to sign him.”
If LA were to be interested in Rogers, which was a subject that Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena did not address on Tuesday, a trade would need to be worked out for his rights. There would likely be other teams interested in the U.S. international as Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Tuesday that he’d be interested in acquiring Rogers from Chicago.
However, there’s no doubt for Magee that Rogers would fit in well with the Galaxy locker room.
“I think that he’s coming into the perfect locker room where,” Magee said. “Everyone is secure in our jobs and our environment is first class and our organization is first class. There are no egg shells, nobody is dodging subjects or watching what they say. We joked with him and tried to make him feel comfortable. I think our locker room is so easy going that it was easy for him (today). For him personally, it was great to overcome that fear of what would guys would say or do. I think it’s great, he reacted well and fits right into the group.”