Gay Soccer Player Robbie Rogers Joins LA Galaxy

Robbie Rogers wrote on his website that he is gay and that it was "time to step away" and "discover myself away from football."

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    Robbie Rogers #18 of the Columbus Crew during a game against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on October 27, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids defeated the Crew 1-0 to advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Sporting Kansas City.

    Robbie Rogers is joining the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer in another step by openly gay athletes in professional sports.

    The announcement was made during an afternoon press conference on Saturday at The Home Depot Center's TV Studio.

    "Join us in welcoming @RobbieRogers to @LAGalaxy!" the team tweeted.

    "Happy to be back as a footballer," Rogers tweeted.

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    He told The Associated Press his fears about returning to soccer were eased by the strong support he received from family, fans and players, including Galaxy star Landon Donovan. Now Rogers is ready to accept his role as the league's first openly gay player.

    "I don't know what I was so afraid of," Rogers said Friday. "It's been such a positive experience for me. The one thing I've learned from all of this is being gay is not that big of a deal to people."

    "People are just really growing and accepting and loving," he added. "Those other things are just not that important to them. I think as the younger get older and the generations come and go, I think times are just becoming more accepting."

    The 26-year-old player had retired in February on the same day the former U.S. national team player publicly came out in a blog post.

    Last month, NBA veteran Jason Collins came out, and Rogers spoke with Collins on the day of the center's announcement.

    "I would have thought more athletes would have taken that step, I guess," Rogers said. "People have seen how accepting everyone has been of Jason's and my story. I think it's going to take just more time and more athletes coming out. It's all about seeing that it's not something to be afraid of. It's not going to hurt your career."

    U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe came out last year before the London Olympics and plays for Lyon in France. She's expected to join the Seattle team of the new National Women's Soccer League in mid-June.

    Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury, and Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx are among that league's openly gay players. Sheryl Swoopes, a retired WNBA All-Star, came out in 2005 during her playing days.

    The two-time defending champion Galaxy announced a deal on Saturday to acquire Rogers, who came out in February while simultaneously announcing his retirement.

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