TORONTO – Robbie Rogers made history in his L.A. Galaxy debut Sunday as the first openly gay male to play on a U.S. professional sports team.
The 26-year-old California native entered as a substitute in the 77th minute with the Galaxy leading the Seattle Sounders 4-0, which turned out to be the final score.
Rogers, who spent the past two seasons in England with Leeds United Football Club, took a break from soccer in February after revealing on Twitter and his website that he is gay.
“For the past 25 years I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear,” Rogers wrote on his website. “Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.”
In the same posting, Rogers said he was taking a break from the game to “discover myself away from football.”
Rogers played 13 minutes of Sunday’s game, calling it “normal.”
“I keep saying the word normal, normal, but it was,” he told the New York Times. “It was just good to be back. I’m excited to move on from here.”
Shortly after the game, Rogers took to Twitter and wrote: “I won’t ever forget tonight! I love my new home @lagalaxy.”
Rogers will make his Canadian debut when the Galaxy takes on the Whitecaps in Vancouver August 24.
Earlier this month, Jason Collins of the National Basketball Association, came out in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA centre. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins wrote.
The free-agent was dubbed the first active player in one of four major U.S. pro leagues to come out as gay.
Social media reaction:
–with a file from The Associated Press
© Shaw Media, 2013