THE SPORTS NETWORK
Former Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers revealed in a blog post Friday that he's gay and that he is stepping away from professional soccer.
Rogers played for the Crew from 2007-11 and helped the team win the 2008 MLS Cup while also earning 18 caps for the United States national team.
"I always thought I could hide this secret," Rogers said on his personal blog. "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 along the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret."
The 25-year-old left MLS following the 2011 season to continue his career in England. But after appearing in just four games for Leeds United, he was loaned to Stevenage.
Rogers played on the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing in 2008 and scored the equalizer for the Americans in a 1-1 draw with Mexico in Jurgen Klinsmann's managerial debut in August 2011.
Most recently, the Chicago Fire acquired the MLS rights of Rogers in a trade from Columbus, meaning that if he returned to the league that the Fire would have the option of adding him to the side.
"Now is my time to step away," said Rogers. "It's time to discover myself away from football. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest."