May 25, 2013, 8:27 PM EST
It’s official: the Robbie Rogers’s return to soccer is nearly complete, and maybe even to the US National team depending on his performance. But the first step of finding his way back onto the pitch is complete – he’s found a team.
After snubbing the Chicago Fire, Rogers’ move to the LA Galaxy is a done deal, and today they unveiled Rogers, who admitted he was apprehensive at first.
“I was afraid to be back in an environment that kind of affected me in the past,” Rogers said. “I was coming in here a little bit nervous. I spoke with Landon [Donovan] a little bit before that and I wanted to see what he thought about the whole situation. After I finally got in here, everything was normal, as it should be.”
Rogers, the first openly gay athlete in U.S. professional sports and first active openly gay athlete in Major League Soccer, said he originally retired in February because he thought the sport wasn’t ready for a gay athlete, but he’s completely changed his mind now.
“For 25 years, I was afraid to share a secret with everyone,” Rogers said . “Finally, I did that. Even though soccer was a place where I could be happy and – not necessarily hide that side of me – express myself on the field, I kept my secret because I thought I couldn’t be both a soccer player and a gay athlete. As crazy as it sounds to you, obviously, that’s not true, but I felt that way.”
The LA Galaxy streamed his press conference live on their official website.
Bruce Arena said, pending approval of an international transfer, Rogers will be in the 18-man squad for Sunday’s match with the Seattle Sounders. However, it’s not a guarantee he will see the pitch. “We will slowly build him into it,” Arena said. “He will need his proper minutes in games before he is a player in a starting position.”
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