Robbie Rogers talks about Portland connection to his coming out story
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
He shocked many soccer fans in late February by announcing he is gay.
Soccer star Robbie Rogers is in Portland this weekend. His team, the LA Galaxy, will battle the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday night.
When Rogers made his sexuality public earlier this year, he also announced he was stepping away from soccer. But he told FOX 12 on Friday evening that the Rose City had a big impact on his decision to get back into the game.
About two months after he came out, Rogers was invited to speak to hundreds of area youth at the Nike Be True LGBT Youth Forum in Beaverton.
"I had this platform to reach more people than they probably could at this point in their lives, and I was being a coward because I wasn't really stepping up the plate," Rogers said. "So, I thought... I need to do this."
Rogers signed a deal with the LA Galaxy soon after.
On May 26, all eyes at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles were on Rogers as he became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a professional American sport.
"I think I'm in a place where I'm supposed to be," Rogers said. "And I think when people are in a place where they feel like they're meant to be, a point in life for a reason... That's quite easy and you feel natural. And that's how I feel right now."
Since making the decision to come out, Rogers told FOX 12 that he's received thousands of letters from kids across the country who've felt a connection to his story. It's motivated some of them to stay in sports and be more comfortable with who they are, he said.
"People see you back in the sport. They see you. 'Okay, he's back in. He's a gay athlete. He's doing this, this, and this. And you know, I can kind of follow that in whatever way you want to," Rogers said.
Portland will always have a special place in Rogers' heart, he said. It made him realize the power he has to make a difference.
"I'm happy. I'm happy to be that person," Rogers said. "Hopefully I can be a positive role model for these kids."
The last time the Timbers played the Galaxy on June 19th, the match ended in a scoreless draw.
Saturday's match at JELD-WEN Field begins at 8 p.m.
Rogers is really excited about the match, but doesn't know yet if he will start, he said.
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Thursday, July 31 2014 11:57 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:57:19 GMT
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