Robbie Rogers stepped away from soccer today. It has been apparent his heart wasn't in it anymore. The drive and fire wasn't there. It turns out there was a reason, he was hiding who he was, that he was gay.
Rogers simultaneously tantalized and frustrated soccer fans for years. He had the obvious talent to be a very good player, but he was maddeningly inconsistent. He was an MLS First XI pick in 2008 and landed on the U.S. National Team radar.
From 2009-2011, his form slipped. He looked lost on the field and appeared to lose a step. He broadened his focus beyond the soccer field, starting a clothing line and modeled a bit. It just looked like he wasn't having any fun on the field and didn't have that same fire.
He made the move to Leeds United at the beginning of 2012, suffered a concussion and slipped down the league table to Stevenage before terminating his contract last month. It all looked like a waste of a great talent.
It's now makes much more sense. Hiding who you are from nearly everyone around you takes a severe toll. Rogers grew up being a gifted soccer player. It likely seemed like the default course in his life; perhaps what was expected. Dreaming of Europe, hardware, and medals.
Once soccer became a job, Rogers form dipped. Along the way he realized dreams change. Stepping away will now give him the chance to "discover myself away from football" in his words.
At 25, Rogers has his whole life ahead of him. He took the brave step of being honest with himself and those around him. Coming out as gay is hard in any circumstances. It's especially hard in the sports world.
I applaud Robbie Rogers. He made a decision to be himself. That can be the hardest thing in the world to do. Forever a Massive Champion.