Gay Footballer Robbie RogersFormer Leeds United football player Robbie Rogers has announced online that he is gay, while also noting that at just 25 he is also to retire from the sport.

The two revelations came about on his official website with the statement noted as being ‘The Next Chapter…’

American born Rogers began by noting that “Things are never what they seem… My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family.”

He added that to be different in society you have to be brave, “to overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith in your purpose.”

“For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations.   Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret.  Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams. Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud.

“What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?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.  Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret. 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. I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gaRobbie Rogers, on Leeds United FC TVve 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 a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.  Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.  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.”

Rogers is just one of a small number of footballers who have publicly noted their sexual persuasion. Olivier Rouyer came out in 2008 and Anton Hysen in 2011. Hysen is currently the only professional player to be ‘out’. Justin Fashanu was the first in 1990 to to announce he was gay while still a player, he committed suicide eight years later when unfounded allegations of a sexual assault were reported to police.

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