Openly gay soccer player to face RailHawks Wednesday - WNCN: News, Weather

Openly gay soccer player to face RailHawks Wednesday

Posted: Updated:
Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional league, will play Wednesday in Cary against the RailHawks. Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional league, will play Wednesday in Cary against the RailHawks.
CARY, N.C. -

The L.A. Galaxy's openly gay player Robbie Rogers is making history, but he says he's actually hoping to reverse it. 

The RailHawks upset the Galaxy last season 2-1, and Rogers says he's here to play.

"My goal is to help these guys -- a lot of the younger guys -- prepare themselves," said Rogers.

He also said he expects a visitor's welcome.

"I think they're going to boo me like any other player. I wouldn't expect anything differently," Rogers said with a shrug.

Rogers made history on Sunday night when he became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional league, making his Major League Soccer debut in a home game with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The RailHawks' Zach Schilawski says his team respects Rogers as a player.

"He's a good player, so happy for him, happy for the league, happy to get a little more buzz around the sport," Schilawski said.

The RailHawks last faced the Galaxy in front of a sold-out crowd. And after $6 million in renovations and added thousands of new seats, the RailHawks hope to sell-out again this year to even more fans.

That's a prospect that even Rogers with the visiting Galaxy finds exciting.

"Whenever you're a player, you want to play in those kinds of stadiums and kind of add more excitement and more meaning to the game," Rogers said.

Rogers received loud cheers Sunday from the crowd of 24,811 as he ran onto the pitch, with fans chanting his last name. Rogers' family, including his grandparents, and friends were in the stands.

He ran by teammate Landon Donovan, who slapped his hand and patted him on the back as he took his position.

"Because of the nature of the way sports has been for so many years - the macho culture that's been embraced by everybody - it's of interest to everybody," Donovan said. "Now, hopefully, the hype about it is over and he can get back to being a soccer player, which is what he wants to do."

Rogers retired from the sport in February, when he revealed in a post on his blog that he is gay. He has been training with the Galaxy since April at the invitation of coach Bruce Arena.

Rogers has the support of his teammates, who understand how much he wants to regain the form that once earned him a spot on the U.S. national team.

"I'm sure he's delighted to get that off his back," said Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, who had his first career three-goal game in MLS. "It's time for him to concentrate on just being part of this team."

But it took time for Rogers to decide he wanted to accept Arena's offer to train with the Galaxy. Eventually, he knew he wanted to resume his career with the team located not far from his hometown of Huntington Beach.

Rogers isn't sure what awaits him as the Galaxy heads out on a five-game road trip, and he is held up as a role model.

"This is a learning process for me," he said. "I would ask these people to remember I'm human as well. I'll try to be a good person through this whole process."

Sean Maroney

Sean anchors WNCN News at 6, 7 & 11 PM. Raised in North Carolina, he returns home after nearly a decade reporting around the world. Each night, he brings his love of this community and powerful journalism into our newsroom and your home.

More>>

  • SportsMore>>

  • NC State to debut wolf-inspired uniforms against ODU

    NC State to debut wolf-inspired uniforms against ODU

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:51:53 GMT
    Designed by Adidas, N.C. State's alterntive uniforms feature black and red as the two primary color. (NC State Athletics)Designed by Adidas, N.C. State's alterntive uniforms feature black and red as the two primary color. (NC State Athletics)
    The Wolfpack will debut new alternative uniforms during next Saturday's match-up with Old Dominion.
    The Wolfpack will debut new alternative uniforms during next Saturday's match-up with Old Dominion.
  • Tony Stewart's return to race track ends early

    Tony Stewart's return to race track ends early

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:40 AM EDT2014-09-01 04:40:38 GMT
    Tony Stewart's return to the track has been marred by a collision with Kyle Busch that sent the No. 14 car into the wall at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    Tony Stewart climbed from his battered car, took a big gulp of water, and surveyed the damage.
  • 49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

    49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:50:49 GMT
    Police in Northern California say San Francisco 49ers Ray McDonald has been arrested on domestic violence charges.
    San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested early Sunday on felony domestic violence charges after officers responded to a home in an upscale neighborhood, San Jose police said.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.