The soccer world better get ready, because Robbie Rogers is back, baby!
After sharing his powerful coming out letter to the world back in February, he felt it was best to step away from his passion to focus on himself. During his brief time away from the sport, speaking to young people -- and his passion for the game that remained within him -- were big factors into his decision to come back to soccer.
It was at the Nike Be True LGBT Youth Forum this April in Portland where Robbie saw the bravery young people exuded and the confidence they embraced, leaving Robbie feeling as if he was "cowardly" for not owning his story. He told USA Today, "I seriously felt like a coward. These kids are standing up for themselves and changing the world, and I'm 25, I have a platform and a voice to be a role model. How much of a coward was I to not step up to the plate?" By the end of May, Robbie had signed with Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, and became league's first openly gay player.
But it wasn't all glitter, lollipops and unicorns. Coming out can be quite unpredictable; it's a process that takes time, courage, and trust in yourself. For Robbie, he had built up enough strength and support while he was back in London playing for Leeds United, an English football club. Ready to embrace this part of him while abroad, he Skyped with his family in Los Angeles and opened up about his sexuality for the first time. He wrote in his coming out letter, "Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone."
After his family embraced him with love and compassion -- a privilege far too many don't experience -- he began to write his website's letter without any intention to post it anywhere. Then prior to coming back to the states to be alongside family, he uploaded it to his site, clicked post, shut his computer and the rest is history. Robbie became a pioneer in the sports world and led the LGBT movement in a bright direction.
The soccer stud was embraced with open arms by the LGBT community, even getting recognition from fellow LGBT trailblazer Ellen DeGeneres! Determined to use his platform to empower youth and athletes alike, Robbie agreed without hesitation to meet us at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles. And as if we needed more reasons to fangirl over him, we were blown away with how articulate, talented, and kind he was! Robbie showed up to the Center with such a good vibe about him -- willing to learn, be open and share his story to those who were there to listen. I mean, he even showed up without a team of publicists feeding his every answer! Check out why Robbie is most #proud, what impacted him the most growing up and what he sees in soccer's future, below.
+ Bonus Clip: Robbie Rogers hard at work on new campaign.
+ Bonus Clip: Robbie Rogers on music he listened to the past year.
Stay tuned for more from Robbie's visit to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center -- including a tour with CEO Lorri L. Jean and a chat with youth involved in the Center's mentorship program! (They asked him if he's single.)
June is Pride Month on MTV Act! All month long, we're celebrating young, change-making, action-taking pioneers who are making outstanding strides to ensure LGBT discrimination is a thing of the past. It's 2013 — are you #proud? Whether you're out, questioning, an ally or just here to learn more, we all deserve the same respect, love and support. Let us know why you're #proud to support the LGBT community this June by taking action below.
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Get involved with Athlete Ally, because a person's sexuality or gender has nothing to do with their sports skills!