Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS Rising Stars: Robbie Rogers
by Ridge Mahoney, October 22nd, 2008 2:45PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Magazine

TAGS:  mls


Now that he's been in MLS for more than a year, Robbie Rogers knows – since he starts nearly every game -- what players mean when they talk about what a long grind the season can be.

"I just try to take little mental breaks when I have a chance, go out to eat, relax out by the pool we have at our place," says Rogers, 23, who left Dutch club Heerenveen to sign with MLS last year. "What you do off the field is important."

Rogers scored five goals in the first seven games of the 2008 season, then hit a long lull and didn't net again before heading to China in late July. He started all three games in the Olympics, working both sides of midfield in the first two games and sliding to left back after the ejection of Michael Orozco against eventual silver medalist Nigeria.

"The guys look back on it as a great experience," Rogers says, "but it was a chance missed where, I don't know, the team we lost to reached the final."

On that Nigeria team was a Crew teammate, midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo, who had signed with Columbus after training with the team during its preseason trip to England. "I think he feels bad for me," says Rogers. "He's a great kid and they're a great team, but any time a team loses a player it kind of kills the game."

Upon his return, Coach Sigi Schmid tossed him right into the fray. Rogers played the full 90 minutes in a 3-0 thumping of Real Salt Lake that lifted the Crew into a first-place tie with New England. Since then, the Revs have faltered while the Crew ran away with the Supporters' Shield.

"I came back and had to play right away and I wasn't expecting that," says Rogers, "but we were playing at home and Sigi wanted me to make a difference. We ended up winning that game and went to Dallas the next weekend, so I didn't get much time to settle, but I think the best way is to just get right back into it."

He didn't net his sixth goal until Sept. 18, but it proved to be the winner, as well as spectacular. After collecting a ball on the left flank near the midfield line, he veered inside on a mazy dribble and lashed a shot from nearly 30 yards that whizzed past Red Bulls keeper Jon Conway.

Most of his goals earlier in the season came on breakaways or through balls that utilized his pace. As teams grew warier and dropped deeper, Rogers needed some time, and guidance, to broaden his game and stay in tune with playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The acquisition of former Rev Pat Noonan gave him a veteran to help refine his attacking skills, and his tactical awareness has grown since Argentine outside back Gino Padula overcame a strained MCL and pulled hamstring to rejoin him on the left flank.

"Pat plays different than I do but I learn a lot watching him in practice," says Rogers. "He's a good finisher and more of a striker, and sometimes I get too excited in front of the goal and he has that composure.

"With him and Schelotto you learn about being around the goal, and from Padula playing right behind me, he helps me a lot tactically. It's something a lot of young players have to improve upon, so I try to listen to the older guys as much as possible."

Age: 21
Position: Midfielder
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.
2005: Univ. of Maryland
2006-07: Heerenveen
2007-08: Columbus Crew

(This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Soccer America magazine.) 

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Magazine
2011 Women's World Cup this week ...    
[SCOREBOARD] Two-time defending champion Germany and France are through to the quarterfinals of the Women's World ...
Tom Mulroy: soccer promoter extraordinaire    
Only once has 53-year-old Tommy Mulroy had a job that wasn't about soccer. His stint at ...
Off the Post: Oddball Tales of the Soccer World     
U-20 World Cup: USA Falls in Egypt     
U.S. Soccer: The Remarkable Rise of Jay DeMerit    
DeMerit's extraordinary ascendancy in pro soccer has taken him into a prominent role with the national ...
In The Game: Pioneer Gordon Jago Still Going Strong    
Youth Beat: A Nation Gone Tournament Mad    
If you've been wondering why tournament play has become such a major part of the youth ...
MLS: Warzycha Keeps Crew Winning     
A shaky start to the 2009 season under head coach Robert Warzycha caused some alarm among ...
U.S. Soccer: Qualifying is Just the Start    
The team that qualifies for the World Cup isn't the same team that actually goes to ...
Backline: ESPN's Derek Rae blazes new trail    
Pond-hopping Rae helps blaze new trail for ESPN
>> Soccer America Magazine Archives