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Rogers-for-Magee, hometown boys return home
by Paul Kennedy, May 25th, 2013 3:06AM

TAGS:  chicago fire, los angeles galaxy, mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Three months after announcing he was gay and retiring from soccer at the age of 25, Robbie Rogers is returning to the professional game. The Los Angeles Galaxy acquired MLS rights to Rogers, who was born and raised in Southern California, from the Chicago Fire for Mike Magee, who will himself be returning to his hometown.

Rogers was released by English club Leeds United, where he played infrequently after joining it as a free agent from the Columbus Crew in 2012. Because Rogers was a free agent who moved abroad, his MLS rights were retained by the Crew. In February, the Fire sent Dominic Oduro to the Columbus Crew for Dilly Duka and the rights to Rogers.

Rogers, who will become the first openly gay male athlete to play in a major American pro league, already had a stellar career before retiring in February.

-- He won the 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 the 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 sent 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.

Rogers will give the Galaxy an out-and-out winger it has lacked this season -- Swede Christian Wilhelmsson didn't return after half a season in MLS -- but he hasn't been the scorer Magee has been for the Galaxy,

Rogers scored just four goals in his last three seasons in MLS. Magee scored just 14 regular-season goals in his first four seasons with Los Angeles, but he had three playoff goals in each of the last two seasons during the Galaxy's MLS Cup runs. Magee has already scored six goals this season -- just one shy of his career-high of seven with the MetroStars in his debut season in 2003.

Both players have taken similar career paths in that they attended Catholic high schools famous as sports powerhouses, spent time in the U.S. U-17 residency program, played for the USA at the Under-20 World Cup and turned pro at young ages.

Rogers was born in Huntington Beach, Calif., and grew up in Palos Verdes Peninsula. He attended U-17 residency for one semester in 2002 before returning home and graduating from Mater Dei High School. (He played on a local PDL teamgala alongside Klinsmann, who was playing under an assumed name.) Rogers was 19 when he signed with Dutch club Heerenveen after one season at Maryland.

Magee was born in Chicago and raised in suburban South Barrington. He left home before his sophomore year at St. Viator High School to enter residency in Bradenton and debuted with the MetroStars at the age of 18.

The trade should be about a wash for the Galaxy in terms of its impact on its salary situation. Magee's 2013 guaranteed compensation is $191,667, a big jump from the $105,350 and $126,635 he made in 2011 and 2012. Rogers made $140,000 with the Crew in 2011 before he tested the free agent market in 2012.

The deal is the second this week for the struggling Fire, who acquired defender Bakary Soumare from Philadelphia on Thursday.

  1. Roland Barral
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 12:33 p.m.
    I cannot imagine that this was a move that Mike Magee wanted. Sad to see him leave LA Galaxy.

  1. Brian Something
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.
    Rogers is a good player. But Magee has scored so many big goals at crucial times for the Galaxy. I’m shocked they would get rid of him.

  1. Karl Ortmertl
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.
    This doesn't make sense unless Magee was looking to go back to his hometown.

  1. Bill Morrison
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
    Agree with all of the above. Magee has scored some big-time goals for LA; let's be real Rogers never played much for Leeds, and has been out of soccer for a while. Doesn't make sense to me if you compare player-to-player.

  1. Reuben Valles
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 3:25 p.m.
    This is a single entity league. The league wanted a gay player in gay friendly LA. I believe the league was trying to be a pioneer as a major professional sports league, The LA Galaxy and LA is the town to make this work. In my opinion, the league felt this was a bigger and more important issue than where Mike Magee plays. As a Galaxy fan, im totally bummed. Mike Magee has turned into a very hard to come by outstanding role player for the Galaxy. An integral puzzle piece they will sorely miss. I understand, however, why the league made the move.

  1. Reuben Valles
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 3:27 p.m.
    Ie.... Los Angeles is the proper and only stage to make this work from a comfort level and from a marketing level. LA and New York will always be the stages/platforms to make major splashes.

  1. Dean Mitchell
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 4:37 p.m.
    I believe, chemistry-wise, Magee was priceless. Kinda like Omar Gonzalez was missed, we'll be looking for someone to score the timely goals and wish Magee were here. Rogers? I wish him well. Let's hope he fluorishes in LA. Before any idiots go yelling hateful insults at him, watch the movies "42" and "Mississippi Burning" and decide if you want to tell your grandchildren (who won't care if someone is gay or not) you were one of those ignorant haters. Remember, this is the YouTube era.

  1. Alex G. Sicre
    commented on: May 25, 2013 at 7:04 p.m.
    Sad to see Mcgee leave the Galaxy, he was an important piece of the scoring puzzle. This was not a good move for the Galaxy.

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: May 26, 2013 at 12:17 a.m.
    But Arena is not an idiot, even if he is a grump with high opinion of himself. He wouldn't have done this deal unless he thought Rogers could play.

  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: May 26, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.
    How long has it been since Rogers has gotten a game?

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