By Paul Kennedy
Robbie Rogers began with a tweet linking to his web site: "Just getting some sh*t off my chest."
In "The Next Chapter," the U.S. international announced that he was stepping away from soccer at the age of 25 and revealed that he is gay.
The record book will show that Rogers' soccer career ended, at least for now, in the minor leagues of England, where he played just 10 games after his move from the Columbus Crew in January 2012.
He was jinxed by injuries at Leeds United -- substituted 10 minutes after making his debut with a head injury and again after 10 minutes two months later after injuring his ankle in his first start -- and a loan move to third-level Stevenage ended in January when Leeds announced it had reached an agreement with Rogers to part ways.
But as Rogers said,
-- He won NCAA Division I title with Maryland in 2005.
-- He played all five games for the USA at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup, where the USA reached the quarterfinals with a team that included Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Freddy Adu.
-- He won MLS Cup title and earned an MLS Best XI selection in 2008 with the Columbus Crew at the age of 21.
-- He played all three games for the USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
-- He came on as a sub and assisted on goals by Bradley and Jonathan Bornstein that gave the USA a 2-2 tie with Costa Rica in their final 2010 World Cup qualifier. The result would send Honduras to South Africa at the Ticos' expense.
-- He scored on his first touch after coming off the bench to give the USA a 1-1 tie against Mexico in Jurgen Klinsmann's first game as U.S. national team head coach.
Yes, soccer gave Rogers more joy than he or anyone could have ever imagined, and he is thankful ...
But he also lived in fear.
Now the fear and pain is gone.
"Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently."
Rogers could not be happier with his decision. Nor could those close to him, as evidenced by the outpouring of support.
Much love and respect to my boy @robbierogers ! Proud to be your friend bro — Stuart Holden (@stuholden) February 15, 2013
100 percent love and support for one of my best friends Robbie Rogers. You will be missed on the pitch. Amazing talent, amazing person.— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) February 15, 2013