Robbie Rogers has stepped out of the closet. The world has sung his praises. Retweets. Blog posts. Columns. Articles. Everybody is on cloud nine…except for me. I’m all for Rogers’ honesty with himself, his family, his friends, and others. However, the announcement was not all roses.
At least not the second part.
For folks unfamiliar with MLS and the USMNT, Rogers was once upon a time a very promising wide midfielder. He could run like the wind, whip in a mean cross, and played a bit of defense. He signed for Dutch club Heerenveen, never made a mark, returned to the US, was a key contributor to the then-successful Columbus Crew for four years, and, of course, eventually his second shot at Europe came.
And went. It appears. Rogers let his contract with the Crew expire and signed for Leeds United, a club in the second division of England. Many other MLS all-stars, including Kenny Cooper and Robbie Findley, have fled to lower-tiers of European leagues in search of superior paychecks. Both returned to MLS after a few years. Eddie Johnson followed a similar trajectory. So did Freddy Adu.
Rogers appeared to ride on a similar track: Leeds loaned him to a third division side, never a good sign. Then, according to the announcement, by “mutual consent” he and Leeds ended their agreement. Translation: the club believed they could not sell him for anything and his wages were too high. Robbie was sick of no playing time and wanted out. This same prisoner’s dilemma has led to protracted and stalled deals in other cases (read: Freddy Adu). However, RR was able to leave.
But to where? More importantly, at what stage do our political leanings shade over our concern as fans? I wanted Rogers to succeed, to offer a genuinely athletic traditional winger (run and cross) option to the US attack. Instead, it seems like, if he does play, he’ll tuck in his tail and return to the states. Another pedestrian toiling on the Feilhaber trail of tears – too talented (and pricey) for the MLS salary cup, but just not good enough for Europe.
Thus, I’m disappointed in the Rogers’ announcement. Yes, congrats on being true to yourself and others. That was brave. But please….start producing the goods on the field again.