CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers departs professional soccer proud of the legacy that he will leave on American soccer and the sports world.
Rogers announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending his trailblazing 11-year professional career that saw the Southern California native play in three countries while winning MLS Cup titles in 2008 and 2014. Apart from his accomplishments on the soccer field, the 30-year-old will be forever remembered for becoming the first openly gay professional athlete in a major American sport in 2013 and helping start a conversation of the importance of inclusion in sport.
Rogers spent five years with the Galaxy, but missed the entire 2017 season due to nerve damage suffered in his left foot during an offseason surgery. After his eighth operation as a professional, Rogers felt the time was now to move into the next phase of his life.
“Right now, I feel like I’ve played professionally for 11 years and I’ve accomplished pretty much everything that I want to accomplish. I feel like the last five years especially have been so rewarding for me,” Rogers told LA Galaxy Insider. “I returned to play for selfish reasons, but the last five years, I’ve been able to play for more than that. I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do. I’m ready for another challenge. I’m also thinking about my body; I’ve had eight surgeries.
“I had the Achilles last year, and then the other before that, and this year, it was whatever it was with my PRP shots, so I told myself that I'd had enough with my body and I’m really happy with my career. I felt like this was the perfect time for me to step away.”
Following the 2017 season, Rogers spoke with head coach Sigi Schmid about the possibility of a return, but despite the defender's desire to help his old coach in Columbus turn the Galaxy around, he felt it was time to move on.
“At this point in my career, I accomplished a lot of my goals that I set out for myself. I felt like it was the right time,” Rogers said. “I felt like I needed to start thinking about my body whereas, in the past, I thought to myself that I could play through anything. After this last injury, I thought to myself ‘I’m a dad, I’m 30-years-old, and I want to be able to kick the ball with Caleb when I’m 40.'”