There was interesting news in the MLS world Tuesday as Robbie Rogers, a U.S. international who revealed in February he is gay, joined training with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Rogers had said he was stepping away from the game during the announcement a couple months ago, but the Galaxy had extended him an open invitation to practice if ever he felt ready to come back.
That day came Tuesday.
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid, who had Rogers on his teams in Columbus, said he thought the 25 year old’s return to the field was great.
“I’ve known Robbie since he was nine years old,” Schmid said. “For him and his situation, it’s something where I think the league is accepting of that. I think your sexual preference is not something that should determine how good you are as a player or your abilities as a player. He’s proven himself as a player, and that’s what he should be judged on. When he’s on the soccer field, that’s all that matters — how he does as a soccer player. I’m happy for him. I know he feels much happier now that he’s been able to express himself, and I hope his comeback goes well. I hope he doesn’t play for the Galaxy. I’d rather see him play for us, but I think his rights belong to Chicago.”
Ah yes, those MLS rights. Fire coach Frank Klopas talked about as much in this story.
When asked if the Sounders might be interested in pursuing those rights in a trade, Schmid said, “I don’t think it’s at that stage yet, but we’ll see.”
Schmid went on to describe why Rogers would not only be welcome in Seattle, L.A. and Chicago, but several other places in MLS, too.
“Robbie was a good player in this league,” the coach said. “When he played for me in 2008 he was Best XI. There’s not a lot of Best XI wingers that are out there … at that age and that ability. He’s got caps. He’s got experience at the international level. He’s played with the under-20s. He’s played in the Olympics. He’s been involved in qualifying matches. There’s always a need and room for a player like that and of that quality.”
Midfielder Brad Evans knows Rogers well, too.
And when told Rogers was back in training, Evans said, “I think it’s time. From Day 1 I never thought that it was a reason to leave, but it’s not my situation. Everybody deals with it differently. I’m obviously happy to see that.”
Evans went on to say Rogers being back in the league would be a good thing:
“He’ll be playing soccer again. He’s a guy where everything we did, everything that he did revolved around soccer. You don’t just give up something like that in the snap of a finger if it’s not for a good reason. Hopefully he’s back in it and can move forward.”
The Sounders, if you remember, put together this video for Rogers following his February announcement.