Robbie Rogers already has a soccer pedigree that would indicate he help Major League Soccer take the next step towards becoming a mainstream U.S. spectator sport.
Rogers played a significant part in winning a national championship in college and won an MLS championship with the Columbus Crew a few years ago.
MLS is in desperate need of a jolt to give the league more attention. On the American sports scene, the MLS tends to get lost in the shuffle. It is not one of the best soccer leagues in the world and many American soccer fans won’t settle for it. Especially without David Beckham, the league is floundering some.
Rogers can bring some back some of the glamour departed with Beckham. An openly-gay player scoring goals and excelling in the league could be compelling sports news that no other American league would offer.
Jason Collins, the only other openly-gay male athlete in a major sport, is no more than a bench player if he makes a team next season in the NBA. Rogers will likely be in the starting 11 for the top glamour team in the MLS, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Why would a gay player create interest?
The excitement come from seeing somebody different dominating a skilled, aggressive male team sport. The intrigue would extend beyond just the gay community, as the masses would want to see that too.
If Rogers can play well and propel the Galaxy to more titles, he may be the answer the league is currently looking for. He could become the poster boy for the MLS. Even his facial resemblance to Beckham is a little eerie.
Rogers doesn’t have the classic Beckham set play ability, but he is only in his mid-twenties and has time to improve his game. Also, Rogers’ charisma will surely develop as the cameras stay on him and endorsements come in.
Major League Soccer has searched for so long (almost 20 years) for an American identity. It has been an uphill battle for the MLS trying to combat the presence of better soccer leagues around the world, and the dominance of baseball, football and basketball in America.
There are still skeptics out there wondering how solid the league is. But, Rogers has come along and now maybe the MLS can find an American niche.