Ex-Leeds winger Robbie Rodgers announces he's gay

Former USA and Leeds United midfielder Robbie Rodgers has announced he is gay.

Rodgers has also declared he is now retiring from football - at the age of 25.

The American, who left League One side Stevenage last month, wrote on his blog that he had been afraid of revealing his sexuality - but is now leaving football.

Rogers, who won 18 caps for the United States national team, wrote: "Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay.

"Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently."

He added: "Now is my time to step away. It's time to discover myself away from football."

Gordon Taylor, chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, said: "I'm pleased that he's come out for his own sake. We do have players who've said that, while they are gay, they don't feel comfortable enough to come out.

"It's not dissimilar to many black players, and we need to create a safe environment for them on and off the field. If there is abuse, that needs to be dealt with by all the football family.

"It's no bad thing that he's been brave enough to come out. We know of players who are playing who are gay who've not had that confidence as yet. But, as the rest of the world becomes more civilised, hopefully that will come."

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