LA Galaxy's Robbie Rogers retires at age 30 after ankle injury
LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers announced his retirement on Tuesday after missing the entire 2017 season through injury.
Rogers, 30, had surgery before the season after suffering nerve damage in his left ankle, and will now call it a career after 10 seasons in MLS.
"It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from the game of soccer," Rogers said in a statement. "It is through this game that I have experienced some of my greatest achievements both professionally and personally and I am forever indebted to the numerous individuals -- coaches, teammates, staff and fans -- that have helped me during this journey."
After coming out in 2013, Rogers became the first openly-gay male athlete to play in a top sports league in the U.S., and he thanked his former coach Bruce Arena and his teammates for their support since that time.
"I would like to thank Bruce Arena for encouraging me to return to professional soccer after I came out as a gay man," he said. "I'd also like to thank all of my LA Galaxy teammates for accepting me from the first day I stepped back into the locker room at StubHub Center.
"Finally, I'd like to thank the fans for their continued support throughout my career. I'll never forget the feeling of returning to the field in my first game back. That feeling of acceptance and support pushed me as an athlete and as a person.
"Having the opportunity to win an MLS Cup in my hometown, with my hometown club as an openly gay man will be something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I will remain deeply connected to this sport and its surrounding community."
Rogers signed with Dutch side Heerenveen in 2006 but never made a first-team appearance with the club. He joined the Columbus Crew a year later and helped them win the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield double in 2008, when he was named to the MLS Best XI.
He moved to England to join Leeds United midway through the 2011-12 season but struggled with injuries and, after going on loan to Stevange, was released in 2013.
Weeks later, Rogers came out as gay and announced his retirement, but he returned to play with the Galaxy that May after LA acquired his MLS rights in a trade for Mike Magee, who went on to win the league's MVP award that season.
Rogers appeared in 89 MLS games with the Galaxy over four injury-plagued seasons, including the playoffs, and won a second MLS Cup after starting the final in 2014. He said he had eight surgeries over the course of his career, and he "felt like this was the perfect time for me to step away."
Galaxy president Chris Klein said: "Robbie Rogers has been an integral part of our club and our community since he joined the LA Galaxy in 2013. During his time in Los Angeles, Robbie has been an elite athlete and a good teammate.
"He helped lead our club to a championship in 2014 while breaking barriers and being a force for positive change in our sport and in our community. We want to thank Robbie for his time with the LA Galaxy and wish him the best of luck in the next step of his career."
Internationally, Rogers made 18 appearances for the U.S. national team from 2009-2011 and also played at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
He scored the equalizing goal against Mexico in a 1-1 draw in 2011 in Jurgen Klinsmann's first game as head coach.
Also on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Galaxy cut ties with five homegrown players: forward Jack McBean, defender Nathan Smith and midfielders Jaime Villarreal, Jose Villarreal and Raul Mendiola.
Jose Villarreal scored five goals in 68 regular-season games, while McBean had four goals in 37 games.
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