February 15, 2013 is a day I will always remember. Robbie Rogers came out publicly as a gay man, was embraced by the soccer community, and was on his way to making professional sports history.
I remember sitting at the desk in my office, very much ready for the weekend to begin in six or so hours. Then I saw the tweet: “Just getting some sh*t off my chest” along with a link to therobbierogers.com.
Now I feel like I need to say that I don’t make presumptions about any player’s sexuality. But at the same time as I moved my mouse pointer to that link a part of me wondered, “Is this it? Is this going to be an American soccer player coming out of the closet while still in the prime of his career?” It truly was a gut feeling based on nothing whatsoever.
I read the post. I read it again. And again. I wanted to make sure what I was reading was exactly what I thought it was. Even then, a part of me wasn’t sure. If you go back and look at the first versions of posts to the site that day, they all said “appears to have come out.” Part of my brain still thought it was too good to be true, although the posting was soon confirmed as legitimate.
But yeah, there was also a part of me that was filled with nothing short of giddy excitement. It’s funny because my company had just hired someone for my department a week before and she was in the office to be trained by me. Who knows what she thought of me nervously pacing around with my phone in my hand. I texted my best friend. I sent messages to the other out soccer players I knew of in North Carolina, in Montreal, and in Sweden. It’s so odd how I remember exactly what I did one year ago.
Then I set up a Tweetdeck search. What would the reaction be? Would people care? Would people be supportive?
I was nothing short of overwhelmed. The love from teammates, other players, and so many fans had me beaming all day long. That reaction is so much of what made the day so special for me. Our community coming together to virtually wrap our arms around one of our own, letting him know he is loved and that whatever path he would choose to go down, we all had his back.
That’s why I made the video above. I wanted some sort of memento of February 15, 2013. Something to remember the brave step Robbie Rogers took and the way a world reacted. And how proud I felt that day to be a fan of American soccer.
Robbie Rogers wasn’t the first soccer player to come out, and he certainly won’t be the last. And I know that every time we have another day like February 15, 2013, soccer players and fans from around our soccer community will envelop that next out player with our love.
The moment is here. It’s time to reveal who our panel has rated the number one pick in our version of the 2014 Major League Soccer Draft.
This is now a three-year tradition, and this year’s selection will join these illustrious players:
Here’s the countdown so far:
19 – Eric Miller – Montreal Impact *** 18 – Daniel Lovitz – Toronto FC *** 17 – Jimmy Ockford – Seattle Sounders *** 16 – Taylor Peay – Portland Timbers *** 15 – Alec Sundly – New England Revolution *** 14 – Eric Stevenson – New York Red Bulls *** 13 – Ryan Neil – Real Salt Lake *** 12 – Joe Sofia – San Jose Earthquakes *** 11 – Christian Dean – Vancouver Whitecaps *** 10 – Patrick Mullins – New England Revolution *** 9 – JJ Koval – San Jose Earthquakes *** 8 – George Malki – Montreal Impact *** 7 – Kevin Cope – Philadelphia Union *** 6 – Tesho Akindele – FC Dallas *** 5 – Steve Neumann – New England Revolution *** 4 – John Berner – Colorado Rapids *** 3 – Marco Franco – Chicago Fire *** 2 – Adnan Gabeljic – Sporting Kansas City
Congratulations to all of the guys who were “drafted.” But the Number One gay4soccer Draft Pick is…
Everyone knows what players got selected in the four rounds of the MLS SuperDraft. But what would the first round of the draft look like if was done on appearance alone? This is the third year we posed that very question, compiling a top-nineteen countdown of hottest rookies a judged by a panel of readers. Our list continues with the next six picks, and concludes tomorrow with the number one revealed.
7. Kevin Cope
- Actual SuperDraft Pick: Round 2, Number 6
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Union
- College: Michigan State
- Hometown: Canton, MI
- Position: Defender
- Stats: 6’1″, 175 pounds
It’s time to continue our annual countdown that plays “what if?” with the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. What if players were selected solely on their appearance? What would the draft’s first round look like? We asked a group of folks about the players in the first few rounds of the SuperDraft and compiled a countdown of the top nineteen. Here is the next batch of six players.
13. Ryan Neil
- Actual SuperDraft pick: Round 1, Number 18
- Drafted by: Real Salt Lake
- College: California
- Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
- Position: Defender
- Stats: 6’1″, 165 pounds
Preseason is underway for Major League Soccer and this week we continue a now three-year tradition. Taking a look at the 2014 SuperDraft picks through a gay4soccer lens.
The premise is simple. What if the draft was done solely on the basis of the players’ looks? We took the 38 players from the first two rounds of the SuperDraft and based on feedback from a group of readers–men and women, gay and straight–we ranked the top 19 into a hypothetical first round. Here are the first six to be revealed in this year’s draft:
19. Eric Miller
- Actual SuperDraft pick: Round 1, Number 5
- Drafted by: Montreal Impact
- College: Creighton
- Hometown: Woodbury, MN
- Position: Defender
- Stats: 6’1″, 175 pounds
Federation sends diverse team to nation with recent history of neo-Nazi issues in fan base
Last week U.S. Soccer quietly announced that the Men’s National Team will play Ukraine in a friendly March 5 as part of its preparations for the 2014 World Cup. It wasn’t posted to social media; it was just slipped onto the website.
The issue with this is that the nation of Ukraine has had a recent history of racism, neo-Nazism, and gay bashing within its national team fan base and in the nation at large.
Let’s start with LGBT issues, where things got very heated in the months ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament that was co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Gay pride in Kiev had to be cancelled in May 2012 when right-wing soccer hooligans attacked event organizers soon before it was set to begin. Police flat-out told them they would not put officers in harm’s way to protect the LGBT community.
Amnesty International advised LGBT persons and other minorities from travelling to Ukraine for Euro matches:
Not only will they have to deal with violent football hooligans who deliberately target gay people and people of ethnic minorities, they will also face an extremely corrupt police force who have a track record of beating and mistreating people because of their sexual orientation.
I was sitting down to write down some reflections on the past year in American soccer when I got an email alert about an opinion piece on CNN’s website: “Pro Sports, Still Homophobic in 2014.”
First, I’m certain that the headline there was crafted by a CNN editor and not Hudson Taylor who wrote the accompanying commentary because anyone who spends any sort of time in the pro sports world knows that such a blanket statement is untrue. There have been a few high-profile instances in Pro Football this past week that certainly set the atmosphere for that headline but I read it a bit angry thinking, “That’s not us. That’s not the players, fans, and staff whom I consider my family and friends.”
It was great to experience the final first-hand for the first time and to share some of the moments with you as we launched a new YouTube Channel. If you missed any of the moments over the weekend here are the compilation videos we shared created using Google’s Auto Awesome video program.
MLS and Sporting KC put on a World Cup Draw watch event at Sporting Park’s Members Club. It was great to watch the draw with a few National Team players in attendance to see their instant reactions and hang out with local fans.
Abby Wambach has been named number five on ESPNW’s year-end “Impact 10″ list of female athletes.
Wambach was a natural pick for the list with her record-breaking year as she passed Mia Hamm for the greatest number of international goals scored by any player. ESPNW also cites her leading the Western New York Flash to a NWSL championship match in her hometown, where they lost to the Portland Thorns whose Alex Morgan was named as number ten on the list.
You can still vote in the fan version of the poll at the ESPNW website.
Now ESPN, can we now discuss how there could possibly be four bigger athletes than Abby Wambach in 2013? Boo.
Robbie Rogers made the list as Out Magazine revealed their first 15 entries to their annual Out100 of notable personalities in the LGBT community.
It marks the first time a soccer star has been named to this list selected by both magazine editors and readers.
Rogers is joined in the first batch of honorees by WNBA star Brittney Griner, Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, and the legendary George Takei. Here’s hoping he’s not the only member of our soccer family on the list when the full 100 is revealed.
Rogers and the LA Galaxy hold a 1-0 lead over Real Salt Lake in the MLS Western Conference Semifinals. Leg 2 from Sandy, Utah is tonight at 9 PM ET on ESPN2.
There’s more from Robbie Rogers’ Out Magazine photo shoot at their website.