Former Major League Soccer midfielder Robbie Rogers announced he is gay and his immediate retirement Friday, in a post on his website.
Rogers, 25, last played for English club Stevenage of League One, making nine appearances during the 2012-13 season. He was most successful with the Columbus Crew of the MLS, scoring 13 goals over the course of five seasons.
A native of California, Rogers also rose through the ranks of the U.S. national team and played for the senior club from 2009 to 2011, scoring two goals.
In part, Rogers statement read: “I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
“Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest. Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.”
Rogers is not the first MLS player to publicly come out. In 2011, David Testo announced he is gay, but has not been signed by another team since, according to Sports Illustrated.
Rogers technically first made the announcement via Twitter on Friday when he tweeted: “Just getting some (expletive) off my chest” and then linked to the post on his website.