The big news surrounding the world of American sports is the L.A. Galaxy’s addition of Robbie Rogers to their roster.
Because he is openly gay, Rogers’s addition is the most talked-about aspect of the MLS since David Beckham’s addition to the Galaxy in 2007. Rogers is the first openly gay athlete in any of the major American sports (Jason Collins is technically a free agent, and isn’t a member of an NBA team). However, his sexual orientation is not what all the buzz should be about.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge step for gay Americans in sports. It is far past time that American athletes were comfortable with their sexual orientation, but Rogers’s move to L.A. is so much more than that. The Galaxy traded him for a great player in Mike Magee, and the pressure will immediately be on for Rogers to produce.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena hasn’t proven himself to be one of the best coaches year after year because he makes bad decisions. He didn’t make the trade for publicity or to make a statement; he made it because Rogers has the potential to make the Galaxy a better team.
If Rogers can produce like he did a few years ago when he was playing for the Columbus Crew and the U.S. National Team, he has the potential to be spectacular. Rogers is a fast, accurate winger who can defend as well – exactly what the U.S. National Team needs.
U.S. Soccer is only going to continue to get better so long as there is a large pool of talented players to choose from. No international team has won a World Cup with a handful of talented players; talented world soccer teams go a lot deeper than that.
So gay or straight, what everyone should be focusing on is the fact that U.S. Soccer is getting a great player thrown back into the competitive mix. Rogers’s reintroduction to the MLS is a positive sign for U.S. soccer players and the future of U.S. soccer as a whole.