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Outsports male athlete of the year: Robbie Rogers

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The defender was a key cog in helping the L.A. Galaxy win the MLS title and has inspired others to come out. Figure skater Eric Radford is our runner-up.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Robbie Rogers was on the field at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles with his Galaxy teammates this month celebrating their Major League Soccer championship. For Rogers to be in this spot 20 months after coming out and temporarily retiring was amazing.

"I'm such a different person," Rogers told reporters post-match. "The emotion I had after the game. It's been such a long journey and for it to end this way, just to share it with these guys on the field, has been amazing." Rogers contrasted this moment with one in 2008 when he helped the Columbus Crew win the MLS title. Then deeply closeted, Rogers could not enjoy the moment.

Rogers was no bench-warmer for the Galaxy. He was a star defender on the team and for that wins our Male Athlete of the Year honor. It's not only his play that has made Rogers an icon in the gay sports community -- it's how he has inspired others to come out.

In the past month, Outsports has run stories by an Arizona Cardinals employee and one by a high school soccer player, both of whom credited Rogers for them coming out. The soccer player, Michael Martin in West Virginia, was so excited that Rogers' followed him on Twitter and retweeted his story that he posted this message on Instagram: "The moment when your idol and hero @robbierogers follows and retweets you..."

Rogers also published a book in 2014 that detailed his journey and is the inspiration for a TV comedy in the works about an openly gay pro athlete. It was quite a 2014 for Rogers.

Male Athlete of the year runner-up: Eric Radford, figure skating. Radford and partner Meagan Duhamel won the pairs skating at the Grand Prix Final this month, a week after Radford came out publicly as gay. Radford also competed for Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics. "If you believe in yourself and focus on your dream and you work hard and surround yourself with a good team who will support you, you can achieve anything you want," he said after coming out.