Los Angeles Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers has announced his retirement from professional soccer after 11 years in MLS. In 2013, Rogers became the first openly-gay male athlete to compete in a top North American professional sports league.
He underwent surgery on his left ankle before the season and did not play in 2017.
Rogers, 30, also played in England and the Netherlands for SC Heerenveen and Leeds United. He represented the United States at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in his 18 appearances for the USMNT. He won two MLS Cups in his career.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from the game of soccer,” Rogers said in a statement from the LA Galaxy. “It is through this game that I have experienced some of my greatest achievements both professionally and personally and I am forever indebted to the numerous individuals – coaches, teammates, staff and fans – that have helped me during this journey. I want to personally thank Mr. Anschutz, Dan Beckerman and the entire AEG family for the opportunities and continual support they have given me during my time with the LA Galaxy. I would like to thank Bruce Arena for encouraging me to return to professional soccer after I came out as a gay man. I’d also like to thank all of my LA Galaxy teammates for accepting me from the first day I stepped back into the locker room at StubHub Center. Finally, I’d like to thank the fans for their continued support throughout my career. I’ll never forget the feeling of returning to the field in my first game back. That feeling of acceptance and support pushed me as an athlete and as a person. Having the opportunity to win an MLS Cup in my hometown, with my hometown club as an openly gay man will be something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I will remain deeply connected to this sport and its surrounding community. I leave the game full of pride of what I have accomplished as a person and a player. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
He was inducted to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.