MLS Cup Preview: After a lifetime of supressing his sexuality, LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers is “Coming Out To Play”

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MLSCUP2014For the first 25 years of his life, Robbie Rogers would not admit — even to himself — that he was gay.

And he confided to no one his fears and hopes during a lifetime of denial:

“Why didn’t I speak to anyone — a therapist or anyone?” he wondered during an interview Thursday. “That just shows how afraid I was.”

But today, Rogers has the support of his family, friends and the extended soccer community who encouraged the only active gay athlete in a major U.S. sport not to quit the game. To complete his journey — and that of Landon Donovan — the Galaxy must win Sunday against the New England Revolution in Carson.

“There’s been a lot of things happening outside of soccer and we’ve all supported each other,” he said. “I think it shows on the field.”

“I feel very blessed,” he added. “Now it’s the perfect way to end a perfect yr.”

Read more about how Rogers is “Coming Out To Play” in this story that ran on the front page page today of Los Angeles News Group newspapers.

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Video: New in-depth Landon Donovan interview premieres Tuesday night on Time Warner Cable ahead of start of Major League Soccer playoffs

If you haven’t yet had enough of Landon Donovan interviews, then you will want to catch Cobi Jones sitting down for an extended 30-minute conversation with the LA Galaxy playmaker in the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet series “Connected With…”

Donovan will talk about his impending retirement and, of course, his omission from the World Cup squad:

“Of course I was hurt…And the part that I haven’t talked a lot about is that it was painful for my family…They had this amazing trip planned, this amazing life journey…Not only are they devastated for their son, uncle, nephew…but it was a really difficult time for us as a family.”

 

See an excerpt from the interview here. The show premieres at 7:30 p.m,.

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Live blog: Landon Donovan plays his final regular season game for the LA Galaxy with the MLS Supporters’ Shield at stake against Seattle Sounders in Carson

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Major League Soccer Video: One on one with LA Galaxy great Landon Donovan

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Los Angeles News Group Writer Phil Collin had an exclusive interview with Landon Donovan about growing up in Southern California before the eyes of friends and family with its challenges and benefits.

You may have read a lot about Landon Donovan lately, but this is his story through a local lens.

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Video: “Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy Record Breaker”

This is the fourth in a six-part video documentary series being released each day leading up to Sunday’s final regular season home game in the career of the Southern california native.

Watch the other episodes here.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Friday unveiled a series of events on gameday (others are being kept under wraps) that will honor Donovan including:

    • Encouraging fans to be in their seats by 5 p.m.for a “special on-field celebration” that will incorporate “tributes to Donovan’s historic career.”
    • Having the opportunity to have their photo taken with the MLS Cup trophy from the Galaxy’s MLS Cup victories in 2002, 2005, 2011 and 2012 as part of SoccerFest, located on the South Plaza at StubHub Center.
    • Writing a personal message on a #ThanksLD canvas.
    • A No. 10 card fans will receive as they enter the stadium.
    • A stadium-wide Landon Donovan chant when the game clock reaches 10:00 and thank you videos from fans played before the game and at half time.
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Watch “Landon Donovan: Phenom”

A six-part documentary series documenting Landon Donovan’s career will be released daily through Sunday’s showdown with the Seattle Sounders by MLS and Copper Pot Pictures (makers of “Kei,” the documentary about Sierra Leone refugee Kei Kamara who moved to Lawndale) as told by the likes of Bruce Arena, Tim Cahill, Todd Dunivant, John Ellinger, Julie Foudy, Chris Klein, David Moyes, Richard Motzkin, Paul Pabst, Rob Stone, Taylor Twellman and Grant Wahl.

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Major League Soccer Stats Watch: LA Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan by the numbers

LDfarewellLandon Donovan has never been shy to admit he’s a numbers guy.

He knows his stats, whether it’s soccer around the world or Major League Soccer. Players, teams, goals, assists, standings, win streaks, he’s pretty tuned in with all of it.

When it comes to his own growing file of numbers, he will promptly change the subject to doing anything to help his team win. One of his favorite go-to answers is, paraphrasing, “I’d rather not score and win than score and lose.”

He’ll still put that out there in the coming weeks as the Galaxy continue their mad dash for a fifth MLS Cup, one that will signify the send-off for Donovan and his brilliant career.

But a couple of informal chats with Donovan revealed that he still has eyes on some numbers, and might have become just a little more interested in some of those he was not aware of.

“That would make a good story,” Donovan said with a twinkle in his eye.

Of course, publicly he’ll take the “When all is said and done” approach.

Heading into Wednesday’s game, Donovan has 143 MLS goals (No. 1 all-time) and 131 assists (No. 2 behind Steve Ralston’s 135). He was asked if he was aware of any other MLS player who had a career double-triple (more than 100 goals and assists) and he came up with a couple of names, but he was certain of Jaime Moreno.

Sure enough, Moreno is the only other MLS player to hit that milestone with 133 goals and 102 assists.

With his penalty-kick goal against Colorado Friday, Donovan passed Jeff Cunningham for most career game-winning goals (41). He looked a little resigned to that mark not lasting long, since San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski has 34. Curiously, though, Wondo has none this season.

An obscure stat that not even Donovan was aware of is game-winning assists, and Donovan is on the verge of knocking that one out of Ralston’s hands. With four this year, Donovan has 40 in his career, one behind Ralston.

“I should have passed the ball on the PK,” Donovan joked about his goal against Colorado.

But closing in is Houston’s Brad Davis, who has 36. Davis has three this season, but he is older than Donovan and isn’t passing to Robbie Keane or Gyasi Zardes, so we’ll see.

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Former U.S. National Team Captain Carlos Bocanegra to retire at end of Major League Soccer season

Veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra, 35, an Upland native who has made 30 appearances for Chivas USA over the last two seasons, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the MLS season.

Bocanegra has missed the half dozen MLS games because of concussion.

“I’m still hungry for the game and I want to play, but unfortunately you can’t play forever,” he said in a statement released by the club. “I was thinking about this in the offseason, and it took me about six months to come to a final decision.

“The timing is right for me,”added the UCLA product. “I’ve known for a little while now in my mind and in my heart. I’m happy with it, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges.”

Bocanegra did not say what those plans are, but will talk to reporters Friday morning.

A former MLS Rookie of the Year with Chicago in 2000, Bocanegra spent the bulk of his career in Europe playing for Fulham in the EPL before moving to France for four years and then onto Glasgow Rangers.

He played in two World Cups for the U.S., making a total of 110 international appearances, before he was discarded midway through the last World Cup qualifying campaign.

Read more about his career in the link embedded in the Tweet above, read what Bocanegra has to say about it in his own words here or just watch this:

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