Robbie Rogers trained with the Los Angeles Galaxy as a “special guest” today, about 10 weeks after revealing he is gay and announcing that he was retiring from professional soccer.
“I think it’s great for Robbie,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said today of Rogers possible return to MLS. “I’ve known Robbie a long time. I’ve known Robbie since he’s been 9 years old. For him and his situation, I think the league is accepting of that. I think your sexual preference is not something that should determine how good you are as a player or your abilities as a player. He’s proven himself as a player, and that’s what he should be judged on. When he’s on the soccer field, that’s all that matters: how he does as a soccer player. I’m happy for him. I know he feels much happier now that he’s been able to express himself, and I hope his comeback goes well. I hope he doesn’t play for the Galaxy; I rather see him play for us, but I think his rights belong to Chicago.”
Schmid was asked if the Sounders are interested enough to call the Fire to inquire about what it would take to get Rogers’ rights.
“We’ll see,” he said. “I don’t think it’s at that stage yet, but we’ll see.”
But whether the Sounders pursue Rogers or not, Schmid indicated little doubt that he retains value for MLS clubs.
“Robbie was a good player in this league,” he said. “When he played for me (in Columbus) in 2008 he was Best XI. There’s not a lot of Best XI wingers that are out there … at that age (25) and that ability. He’s got caps. He’s got experience at the international level. He’s played in the Olympics. He’s been involved in qualifying matches. There’s always a need for a player like that and of that quality.”
Rogers also received support from Sounders midfielder Brad Evans, who was his Columbus teammate in 2007-08.
“It’s good. … I think it’s time,” Evans said. “From Day One I never thought it was a reason to leave, but it’s not my situation. Everybody deals with it differently. I’m obviously happy to see that. … He’ll be playing soccer again. Everything we did, everything that he did revolved around soccer. You don’t just give up something like that in the snap of a finger if it’s not for a good reason. Hopefully he’s back in it and can move forward.”