UPDATE 1:08 p.m. — Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said during a press conference Saturday that the team is hopeful of receiving Robbie Rogers’ international clearance in the next 24 hours. If they do, Arena said Rogers will likely be in the 18-man game-day lineup (most likely on the bench) for Sunday’s night game against the Sounders.
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Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid answered a few questions about Robbie Rogers after Saturday’s practice. Reports have indicated Rogers, who announced he is gay earlier this year, will soon be acquired in the Los Angeles Galaxy in a trade involving Mike Magee.
That would make Rogers the first active and openly gay player on a major American sports team, and his debut in such a role could come Sunday night against Seattle.
Here is what Schmid had to say about Rogers, who he had coached at Columbus in 2007 and 2008:
(How does Rogers-Magee trade affect the Galaxy?) “It’s hard to say because Robbie hasn’t played any games with them yet. He’s more of an out-and-out winger, where Magee is sort of a pseudo-winger, pseudo-forward and gets inside a little bit more. So it maybe changes a little bit how they play and it will probably take them a little bit of time to coordinate all that within their team. Certainly it will make a change within their team.”
(Do you anticipate Rogers being a part of the game Sunday?) “Don’t know if they’re going to be able to get his (International Transfer Certificate) in time. I think that’s still up in the air right now at this stage. I know Robbie sent me a text this morning telling me that he hopes to see me on Sunday. I said, ‘I hope to see you … but not on the field.’”
(A lot of people wondered if the Fire would get fair compensation with the position they were put in. Do you think it was a fair trade?) “I think it’s an equitable trade. … Magee has been one of the players who has come through in important games for them. His home is Chicago, that’s where he’s from, so I guess it works out well for him also. I think it’s a pretty fair trade. You can’t always say that about a lot of trades in this league, like the Gabriel Farfan from-Philly-to-Chivas trade. But this one I think is a pretty fair trade.”
(Did the Sounders express Rogers interest to Chicago?) “Well, obviously that was the first discussion. We had expressed interest that if there was something there, we certainly would like to participate in the discussion. But it never really got to that point.”
(It appears as though the transcendent moment with Rogers is imminent. Does that start to register with you as someone who has come to know him closely?) “I think it’s all about him as a soccer player at this stage. It’s about him getting back on the field, him playing well, him getting back to the level where he was a national team player, and I think that’s what the focus has got to be. Everybody in their personal lives has things that make them different or are unique to them in one way or another, but I think the focus on the soccer field is what you do on the soccer field. For me, I’m happy that Robbie is back. I’m happy that he’s playing. I think he shouldn’t have stepped away because of the off-the-field thing — I don’t think anybody should step away for an off-the-field situation if they can stay on the field — but it’s a great opportunity for him to make a statement. At the end of the day, he’s going to get judged by his ability to play the game.”