COLUMBUS, Ohio — If Robbie Rogers wants to return to professional soccer, Major League Soccer will be glad to have him.
That was the message delivered Thursday by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who was speaking at Columbus Crew Stadium in helping to announce the location of the 2013 MLS Business Summit.
“We’d love to see Robbie back in the league — regardless of announcement he made in February,” Garber said. “He has to figure out his future, and I hope that future is going to be in Major League Soccer.”
Rogers, 25, announced in February that he was retiring from soccer. He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in a televised interview last month that continuing to play after announcing that he was homosexual would lead to “a circus. I just thought it would be very difficult, the impact on the team.
“I just thought I couldn’t play and come out.”
Earlier this week, longtime NBA player Jason Collins came out in a Sports Illustrated article. Collins, 34, will be a free agent this summer.
Rogers returned to soccer training this week in Los Angeles with Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS. Garber was aware of that and said Rogers has family in L.A., making it the best place for him to be right now.
“As for if he returns, Robbie has to figure that out for himself,” Garber said. “I hope that he can get back into shape and figure out his future, and we hope that future is here.”
Rogers played for the Columbus Crew from 2007 to 2011, winning the MLS Cup in 2008. For the United States, Rogers made 18 appearances, seven in games that were not exhibitions. He scored two goals, one in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match, and another to give the US a draw in an exhibition game against Mexico.
The Crew retained the MLS rights to Rogers when he departed via loan to play in England for Leeds United but traded those rights to the Chicago Fire.