Leon: Rogers would be great addition for Fire

It was just lunch, but it was a start.

Fire owner Andrew Hauptman and president of soccer operations Javier Leon came away very impressed with midfielder Robbie Rogers during a lunch meeting Tuesday in Los Angeles with Rogers and his agent.

“It was really very good meeting him,” Leon said Wednesday from Los Angeles. “I think he's a very good guy. Smart. He seemed very happy, very relaxed. He seemed to be really enjoying football again.”

Rogers, whose MLS rights are held by the Fire, has been training recently with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Rogers retired from soccer in February after announcing he is gay. He had been playing in England and is now out of contract.

Leon said he explained to Rogers why the Fire traded for his rights in February in a deal that sent Dominic Oduro to Columbus and why the Fire still hopes he will suit up eventually in a Fire kit. The Fire also acquired midfielder Dilly Duka in that deal.

“We believe he will be a better soccer player than he was in the past,” Leon said of Rogers, 25, a former U.S. national team player. “We feel strongly about what a great player he would be for us. It would be great to have a player and a person like him be part of the team.”

Rogers, who is from Southern California and has family in that area, has said he would prefer to play for his hometown Galaxy, but a trade would have to be worked out with the Fire if he comes out of retirement. Rogers did not mention Chivas USA, which also plays its home games in Carson, Calif. Seattle also is believed to be interesting in acquiring Rogers.

Rogers said last week in a radio interview that he does not want to play in Chicago, and Tuesday's lunch is seen as a step toward trying to change his mind.

Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

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