Biography of Robbie Rogers

Truth be told, a lot of people (including me) didn't know Robbie Rogers before February 2013 when he made ripples in both social media and the soccer circles, after he braved the cameras, faced the world and shared a piece of his personal life cake. Amidst the glares of the cameras, the incessant clicks of photojournalists as they busied themselves in capturing his otherwise unrattled but handsome face, Robbie cleared his throat, breathed deeply and made one of his most important press conferences to date. And, yes, you guessed it right, he wasn't announcing another club transfer deal but was sharing his life's biggest secret with the cold, cruel world. And so it happened, he came out publicly as gay for the first time.

But who is Robbie Rogers? And why did the world come to a standstill moments after he made sexual orientation public?

For those who still do not know him, Robbie is an American professional soccer athlete who has carved himself a formidable career at LA Galaxy, alongside legends such as David Beckham. Before he was thrust into the limelight back in 2013, Robbie was a winger, and a left back for Stevenage and Leeds United, a position he still holds to date at LA Galaxy.

Apparently, as opposed to what a majority of people think, Robbie Rodgers has been playing soccer for the last 23 years. In fact, although he is now 28, Robbie has been on the pitch since he was only 5 years old. Then, he used to be the striker-turned-winger for the American Youth Soccer Association and also played at Coast Soccer Junior League. As he grew older, he joined Mater Dei High School in Santa-Ana, California and made it to school's soccer team where he went ahead to win the coveted High School All-American title, not just once but twice. When he was barely 16, Robbie was signed by Orange County Blue Star and he made three appearances for them in the USL Premier Development League between 2004 and 2005 when he left for college.

The blooming of a brilliant career.

In college (University of Maryland) Robbie's star kept shining in UMD's soccer pitch and history has it that he scored seven times and assisted other five goals during his short-lived season as a freshman. In that same season, Robbie Rodgers together with his future teammate Jason Garey led Maryland's Terrapins soccer team to the 2005 NCAA Championship. He would then later cement his win by scooping the Soccer Rookie Team of the Year in the lead up of the season.

Robbie's young talent and outstanding prowess attracted the Dutch Eredivisie giants Heerenveen, and he later joined them in the summer of '06 on his first professional contract when he was barely 19. Despite his successful contract, Robbie Rodgers never made it to Heerenveen's starting eleven squad. In his memoirs, "Coming Out To Play," Robbie recounts feeling left out and alienated when he was in Netherlands, even though he hadn't yet made his sexuality public. This later contributed to him leaving the club in 2007 by mutual consent and before returning to the States.

His return to the US

After he had jetted back in the country, Robbie was immediately signed by Columbus Crew, a month before the start of the 2007 MLS season. And he didn't disappoint either, as he netted the club's opening goal against New England's Revolution on June 17, 2007. However, it was the 2008 MLS season that became Robbie's breakthrough in his professional life, when he was awarded MLS Player of the Week award after scoring twice against the New York's Red Bulls in September 2008.

Later in 2011, following the historic 2010 MLS Cup win, Robbie left Columbus Crew to join the Championship side Leeds United in the UK after the expiry of his five-season contract. And that's where it all began.

Reconciling his demons

It was during his brief stay at Leeds that Robbie Rogers came face-to-face with the reality of homophobia and the insensitivity the world meted towards gay men. Unlike, in the United States, where the same-sex relations are a bit tolerated, the environment was quiet different in conservative England. It was then that he decided it was time someone did something, and he later resigned from active soccer before coming out publicly as gay in 2013.

Contrary to what most had expected, his bold announcement did not dent his career. Instead, the opposite happened. In May 2013, Robbie was offered a deal with the prestigious LA Galaxy side and made history when he played his first match for the club by becoming the first openly gay man to join the MLS league.

It is surprising how things turn out to be, isn't it?