This past week, pro soccer player Robbie Rogers visited Bowling Green State University. He has formerly played with the Columbus Crew, Leeds United, Stevenage, and has also spent some time playing with the United States Mens National Soccer team. He is currently playing defense for the L.A. Galaxy. He is known for what he has accomplished athletically. He has won the MLS cup twice. Once with the Columbus Crew and once with the L.A. Galaxy. He won a national championship as a member of Maryland's soccer team. Robbie has had a very decorated career but he has made an even bigger impact since he decided to come out as the first openly gay male soccer player. He has done so much and has inspired so many people. He has torn down barriers. Robbie has made it clear that we have made significant progress, but we still have quite a ways to go.
Robbie Rogers went 25 years with a secret. He was afraid of what his teammates would think if they knew. He stated that his family was very conservative, so he was afraid of how his family would react. It finally had gotten to a point where it was affecting his play and he was not in a good place at all. While at Leeds United, he decided to retire in 2013. He needed to be away from the game. He talked about how all the success he had in his career, but he was never truly happy. So shortly after retirement, Robbie released a statement on Facebook that he was gay. He received support from friends, family, teammates, and people from all over the country. Robbie said he still gets cards in the mail and At last, he was free. He shared that he finally was experiencing life events. He went on his first date. He has a partner and even has a son. All these little things that many people experience at a much younger age, he was just experiencing. Eventually, he was called by L.A. Galaxy's coach Bruce Arena. He invited Robbie to train with the galaxy and that eventually led to him making a full return to MLS soccer.
That was the story that got Robbie to where he is, but what have we all learned by his story? We have learned that we should speak our truth and live our lives in our truth. You get a sense that Robbie was rather unhappy with the first 25 of his life. So if you quit your job, embrace it. If you change religions, live with that truth. If you failed a class in school, don't be afraid to admit that you did. Embrace it and work harder to achieve what you want. Do not live in fear what others will think. If you make a decision best for you, you will be respected and supported for making that decision. Live your life in truth and you are guaranteed to be much happier.
We as a whole can also take away that we are making great strides in equality. More and more people are speaking their truth and as a result are changing the landscape for everyone. Robbie Rogers shared a story with us that his teammate, Giovanni Dos Santos, didn't even believe that he was gay. It shows that many people do not even see that as an issue or problem. We have learned to be more open-minded and hopefully into the future, we continue to do the same.
Robbie mentioned that he never set out to be an inspiration to so many people. He just wanted to do it for himself. But as a result, he has made an impact on so many people and continues to inspire because of his story. He has made large strides and has broken many barriers, especially in sports where sometimes it is not easy to survive in for being different. Athletes across the globe have supported him and others. Some other notable people that Robbie has worked with is Billy Bean and Jason Collins. We hope that this movement continues and that someday this isn't even something that people even talk about. Everyone deserves equality and Robbie Rogers has definitely helped make a dent in the issue. As stated before, we have made great strides, but yet we have a ways to go.