In February, soccer stud Robbie Rogers came out as gay and announced that he was retiring from soccer, leaving his team Leeds United. But after talking to a group of 500 people at the Nike Be True LGBT Youth Forum in Portland, Oregon, Rogers was inspired to get back on the field, signing on to play for LA Galaxy.
"I seriously felt like a coward," Rogers told USA Today. "These kids are standing up for themselves and changing the world, and I'm 25, I have a platform and a voice to be a role model. How much of a coward was I to not step up to the plate? I want to come back and be that voice, be that role model. I want to compete on the field. I want to make it back to the national team. I want to be a role model. I have a lot of motivating factors working for me right now."
It was the support of his fans, friends, family and fellow Galaxy teammates like Landon Donovan, who has been publicly supportive of Rogers' coming out, that prompted Rogers to get back in the game. His rights were owned by Chicago Fire, but Galaxy traded one of their star players, Mike Magee, for Rogers. His first game playing for Galaxy is May 26 against the Seattle Sounders.
"I want to get past the point where I was before," Rogers said. "I want to get back to the national team. I was so close to making the World Cup in 2010, I want to be there for the next one. There's a lot to be excited about. It's awesome to be part of a movement that is changing our society."