Amid all the hype surrounding NBA veteran Jason Collins' revelation of his sexuality, another gay athlete is quietly training for what could be a return to professional sports.
Robbie Rogers, the 25-year-old midfielder who came out in February, played for five seasons in the MLS before moving to Europe. He struggled with Leeds United and Stevenage, leading to his retirement earlier this year. In a blog post, Rogers said he wanted to "discover myself away from football."
Rogers, who has tallied 18 caps for the U.S. national team, recently asked Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena about training with the team. Arena extended an open invitation to the Southern California native, and Rogers worked out with the squad this week.
"He looked a lot sharper than I thought he would today, given the fact he's been away from the game for a while," Arena said.
Depending on whether Rogers is interested and feels comfortable enough to return to professional soccer, he could be the one who makes a different type of history than Collins.
Collins is a free agent, and even if he signs with a team for the 2013-14 season, he wouldn't play until November at the earliest.
Robbie Rogers may end up being 1st openly gay male athlete to PLAY in a major US team sport. Trained with LA Galaxy Tue, may unretire at 25.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) May 1, 2013
Both Arena and Galaxy star Landon Donovan said Rogers' sexuality would not be an issue in the league.
"The timing I guess is good," Arena said. "I think our league is a progressive league. Our league is a league comprised of all different races, colours and creeds, and to be accepting of a gay athlete I don't think is anything that's difficult for our league."
A Sports Illustrated story noted that Rogers called Collins after the NBA veteran's big announcement Monday.
"It feels a little weird to congratulate you for being honest," Rogers said.
Rogers' rights are currently owned by Chicago, so if he was to return to the league, the Fire would have the first crack at signing him.