Robbie Rogers, a former midfielder for the U.S. National Team, came out as gay, and he announced on his website Thursday that he would be taking a break, and possibly retiring, from soccer.
Rogers tweeted "Just getting some sh*t off my chest," with a link to a personal blog post where he wrote: "Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently. "
He added that for his whole life he had:
Felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family ... For the past 25 years I have been afraid, afraid to show whom [sic] I really was because of fear ... 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 along the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
It's not entirely clear from Rogers' statement if he intends to permanently retire from the sport or if he is taking time and space to, as he wrote, "discover myself away from football."
Fans began tweeting their support soon after Rogers' announcement, many encouraging him to continue playing.
He also received an outpouring of support from other professional athletes, including other players from the Men's National Team:
While Rogers' soccer career may come to an early end, and while it would be great to have more openly gay players in professional sports, it's clear from his statement that his decision has come as a relief, writing:
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.