Gay Soccer Player Ponders Breaking Barrier

Gay Soccer Player Ponders Breaking Barrier

The computer document was named LetterOfLife. Robbie Rogers, a former member of the United States national team and a professional soccer player in England, wrote it one night last December, pounding on his keyboard while sitting in bed. When he finished, he saved it on the main screen of his laptop and it stayed there, for more than two months, while Rogers alternately pondered it, ignored it and agonized over whether he could make it public.

Finally, on the afternoon of Feb. 15, after getting a push from several of his closest friends — “I was talking about it again and they told me, ‘Post it, or shut up about it!’ ” Rogers said through a laugh — he did just that. Rogers posted LetterOfLife to his Web site and, in doing so, revealed to teammates, coaches and fans everywhere that he was gay. “Football hid my secret,” he wrote. “I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.” He also announced that he was retiring from soccer, despite being only 25.

In the weeks since, Rogers has stayed out of the spotlight. Letters and e-mails and texts have flowed in from North America, Europe and Asia, and Rogers has been grateful for the support. But there has also been a growing wonder about whether Rogers will consider continuing his career, making him the first openly gay male athlete to play in a major American team sport.

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