After moving from the midfield into defence this season, LA Galaxy left-back Robbie Rogers has earned numerous plaudits and even been tipped for a US national team recall.
Robbie Rogers has been on a rollercoaster during the past 18 months, but the versatile American could now be on the verge of a remarkable international recall.
Considered one of the US national team’s brightest attacking prospects after helping the Columbus Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup, aged 21, Rogers would go on to earn 18 senior caps from 2009 to 2011, as well as a place on the 30-man provisional squad for the 2010 World Cup.
Establishing himself as an MLS star in the meantime, the promising winger’s impressive form saw him seal a move to Leeds United at the start of 2012, but things in England did not go to plan.
With injuries disrupting his progress, Rogers would make just four appearances during his 13-month stint with the Whites, before leaving the club by mutual consent in February 2013, following a fruitless loan spell at Stevenage.
After briefly retiring at the age of 25 and revealing he was gay weeks after his release, the California-native would make a high-profile comeback with the LA Galaxy in May 2013, but his first season back in MLS saw him struggle to reproduce the form he showcased during his first domestic spell.
A stress fracture in his ankle also slowed his start to the 2014 campaign, leaving him on the outside of the first-team picture, until a rash of injuries to the team’s full-backs in April would prove the crucial factor in turning around his career.
Forced into a left-back role, Rogers has been a revelation for Bruce Arena’s side in his 14 appearances at the position since, exhibiting impressive defensive skills while surging forward into the attack with greater success than when he was sat further up the pitch.
Also spending some time at right-back, the 27-year-old’s star performances have been pivotal to LA's recent climb towards the top of the Western Conference, and there are now widespread calls for him to earn a call-up to Jurgen Klinmann's US squad for the upcoming fixture against Ecuador on 10 October.
That would certainly be a significant turnaround from where things stood merely four months ago but, for now, Rogers is remaining grounded, despite the numerous plaudits he's received for his recent outings.
'I'm happy I've been able to find a position that has helped this team and be able to contribute and find some success at it,' he told MLSsoccer.com.
'It's good to have someone like Todd [Dunivant] and the other guys to help me with that, but [I need to work on] staying with the line, forcing attackers a certain way, making sure I track my runners. There's so many different things.
'It's definitely the best place for me. I've really enjoyed myself, and I have a lot to learn, but I think it's come to me pretty naturally.'