Robbie Rogers, the L.A. Galaxy’s openly gay winger, has announced he is retiring from professional soccer.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from the game of soccer,” the 30-year-old said in a statement. “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.”
He also thanked Bruce Arena for encouraging him to return to the sport after coming out, and his Galaxy teammates for embracing him with open arms.
“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.”
Rogers, who is engaged to Hollywood super-producer Greg Berlanti, said he leaves the game “full of pride of what I have accomplished as a person and a player.”
He began his career in Holland in 2006 with SC Heerenveen. After a stint in the UK he came stateside in 2013 to play with the Galaxy, where he made 78 MLS Regular Season appearances and 11 postseason appearances, including starting in the 2014 MLS Cup Final. He also competed at the 2007 World Cup, helping the U.S. reach the quarterfinals, and joined Team USA at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“Robbie Rogers has been an integral part of our club and our community since he joined the LA Galaxy in 2013,” said L.A. Galaxy president Chris Klein. “During his time in Los Angeles, Robbie has been an elite athlete and a good teammate.” Klein credited Rogers will helping the team win the 2014 championship “while breaking barriers and being a force for positive change in our sport and in our community.”
Exactly what he’ll do next is still up in the air, but Rogers has gotten his feet wet in a few different arenas: He cofounded the fashion label Hampton + Baker and recently appeared in a clothing ad for Target. He also appeared on an episode of The Real O’Neals as himself.
At the time of his Galaxy debut, Rogers was the only openly gay male on a pro sports team. After Michael Sam and Jason Collins came and went, he became so again. With Rogers leaving the pitch there are no out gay men on a professional sports team in the United States.