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Openly gay player signed by Galaxy

ROBIN-RODGERSLOS ANGELES, May 24 – Former US midfielder Robbie Rogers has reportedly agreed terms with the Los Angeles Galaxy on a deal that would make him the first openly gay player competing in Major League Soccer.

USA Today reported the deal on Friday, citing “two people familiar with the negotiations”. Rogers had revealed his sexual orientation in February in a blog posting, simultaneously announcing his retirement from football.

However, earlier this month the player, who recently turned 26, began training with the Galaxy.

The club did not immediately confirm the signing but has scheduled a press conference for Saturday “to introduce the club’s newest player”.

LA Galaxy President Chris Klein as well as General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena and the newly acquired player will attend, the team said.

In order to sign Rogers, the Galaxy needed to do a deal with the Chicago Fire, who owned the player’s MLS rights.

Rogers, whose four-year stint with the Columbus Crew included a MLS title in 2008, played briefly for Leeds United in England this season but left the club after a loan deal to English League One side Stevenage expired in January.

In March he told the Guardian newspaper he worried about how his teammates would react if he were open about his sexuality.

“Even though I’d still be the same person would it change the way they acted towards me, when we were in the dressing room or the bus?” he said in an interview with the newspaper.

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Earlier this month he told ESPN Radio in Dallas that he had not planned to return to football, but later realized he missed the game.

Rogers’s decision to come out was followed in April by basketball center Jason Collins.

The story of Collins, a free agent who has played for six NBA teams over the past 12 seasons and finished the past season with the Washington Wizards, attracted more attention in the United States as he became the first player still active in a major American professional team sport to reveal he is gay.

Collins, however, has not played since his announcement.

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