Luke Rodgers

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Luke Rodgers
LukeRodgers (cropped).jpg
Rodgers playing for the New York Red Bulls in October 2011
Personal information
Full name Luke John Rodgers
Date of birth (1982-01-01) 1 January 1982 (age 32)
Place of birth Birmingham, England[1]
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[2]
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2005 Shrewsbury Town 176 (65)
2005–2007 Crewe Alexandra 38 (9)
2007–2009 Port Vale 59 (16)
2008–2009 Yeovil Town (loan) 6 (2)
2009 Yeovil Town 16 (1)
2009–2010 Notts County 46 (13)
2011–2012 New York Red Bulls 23 (9)
2012 Lillestrøm 7 (1)
2012–2013 Portsmouth 10 (2)
2012 Shrewsbury Town (loan) 9 (2)
2013 Shrewsbury Town 6 (0)
2013 Hammarby IF 6 (0)
2014 Forest Green Rovers 20 (0)
National team
2003 England C 1 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:03, 13 November 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Luke John Rodgers (born 1 January 1982) is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker. He is without a club after leaving Forest Green Rovers in December 2014.

He played in England's Football League, starting at Shrewsbury Town in 1999. Rodgers spent six years with the Shropshire side and made over 200 appearances as they were relegated and then promoted back to the Football League. In the summer of 2005 he moved to Crewe Alexandra, where he stayed until a January 2007 switch to Port Vale. Two years later he moved on to Yeovil Town following a short loan spell. His permanent spell at Yeovil was brief, he soon transferred to Notts County in summer 2009, who he helped fire to promotion in his first season. He completed a move to Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls in January 2011. In March 2012, he was released by the Red Bulls after his work visa renewal was denied, and transferred to Norwegian club Lillestrøm. He returned to the English league with Portsmouth in August 2012, before joining Shrewsbury Town on loan two months later in a deal which became permanent the following January. He signed with Swedish club Hammarby IF in July 2013, and stayed until the end of the calendar year. He signed with Forest Green Rovers in February 2014.

Club career[edit]

Shrewsbury Town[edit]

Rodgers initially played for Shrewsbury Town, rising through the ranks to break into the first team as a youth player. He first established himself as a goal-scorer during the 2000–01 season, as he bagged seven goals in 27 games (half of which were as a substitute). Three of his goals came against Rochdale in a 7–1 romp at Spotland on 24 February.[3] The 2001–02 season showed Rodgers' potential, as he hit 22 goals in 41 games, this time never being used as a substitute.

In 2002–03 he hit twenty goals in 47 games. Rodgers also played in the club's giant-killing over Premier League Everton in the FA Cup,[4] but despite this Shrewsbury suffered relegation out of the Football League having finished bottom of the Third Division. At the end of the season the club insisted that Rodgers was 'not for sale';[5] this was proved to be true when First Division Crewe Alexandra had a £200,000 bid for Rodgers rejected by manager Jimmy Quinn.[6] Hull City also had a £200,000 bid of their own rejected, as Quinn persuaded Rodgers to remain in Shropshire.[7] Earlier in the season there was also unconfirmed speculation that Southampton had offered as much as £600,000 for the player.[8][9]

Despite being limited to 26 league starts in 2003–04, he still bagged fifteen goals in his 41 games. He also scored both goals past Barnet in the play-off semi-final aggregate victory that took Shrewsbury into the play-off Final with Aldershot Town at the Britannia Stadium. The final itself went to a penalty shoot-out, and though Rodgers missed his penalty, Town won the match as all three Aldershot penalty-takers missed theirs.[10] In 2004–05, his final season with the "Shrews", he managed just eight goals in forty games. However he had long become a fan favourite at Gay Meadow as he scored 67 goals in 204 appearances for the Shropshire side in all competitions, also managing four club hat-tricks.

Crewe Alexandra[edit]

Rodgers turned down Shrewsbury's offer of a one-year contract,[11] and was initially linked with a move to SPL high-flyers Hibernian.[12] Instead he moved to Championship club Crewe Alexandra on a two year contract for a tribunal-decided fee in July 2005.[13] Shrewsbury received £100,000 from the tribunal with two add-ons of £20,000 based on appearances; however, due to his brief spell at Crewe, Shrewsbury only received the first of these. Crewe went on to suffer relegation in 2005–06, and though Rodgers was limited to six goals in his 26 games, he was forced to come off the bench in half of these games.

Despite being popular with supporters,[14] he was never a favourite of Dario Gradi,[15] and was third choice behind free-scoring Luke Varney and Nicky Maynard at the start of the 2006–07 season. Rodgers asked for a transfer to a club that would provide him with regular football,[15] and in January 2007, after just 39 appearances and 9 goals, he moved to local rivals Port Vale for a £30,000 fee. This came after he chose to sign for Vale ahead of Paul Sturrock's Swindon Town, who had also agreed a fee with Crewe;[16] as well as Chester City;[17] and an unnamed League Two club who offered £40,000 for the striker.[18]

Port Vale[edit]

He got injured after just three appearances for the "Valiants" and only played a total of eight games before the end of the season, though still managed to score three goals. His first goal for the club came against Crewe in a 3–0 win at Vale Park. During the 2007–08 season, Rodgers was the club's top scorer with twelve goals in 41 games, but famously missed two penalties in Vale's defeat to Southern Football League minnows Chasetown in the Second Round of the FA Cup.[19][20]

Unhappy on the club's bench,[21] in November 2008 there was talk of Rodgers moving to Yeovil Town, yet the move stalled as the two clubs had difficulties reaching a transfer fee.[22] However a loan deal was made which would take Rodgers to Yeovil until the January transfer window,[23] when the club would have the option of purchasing him for £30,000 fee, with a 10% sell-on clause (an offer Yeovil boss Russell Slade described as "the final throw of the dice").[24][25] Despite all this, when January came he was released from his contract by mutual consent,[26] having had a bust-up with manager Dean Glover.[27][28] Glover claimed the decision was motivated by a desire to free up the wage bill.[29]

Yeovil Town[edit]

Rejecting an approach from Northampton Town,[30] Rodgers instead signed with Yeovil Town until the end of the season.[31] He left the club at the end of his contract, having scored three goals in 22 games for the League One club.

Notts County[edit]

After leaving Yeovil, Rodgers had planned to remain in League One,[32] but instead signed for Notts County in July 2009 on a two-year deal.[33] Rodgers made a slow start to the season, making eight appearances without scoring, only to break out of the barren spell with a hat-trick past Lincoln City on 29 September.[34] He played in 42 league matches for Notts County, scoring 13 league goals in helping the club to gain promotion out of League Two.

At the end of the season it was reported that Rodgers was set to leave Notts County to join former Magpies' boss Hans Backe at New York Red Bulls,[35] a move his club permitted.[36][37] However, this move was put in jeopardy after his initial application for a US work permit was turned down on the basis of his previous affray conviction.[38][39] Nevertheless, Backe was confident that Rodgers would join the club in the January 2011 transfer window,[40] and after Rodgers had reached an agreement with Notts County for a mutual termination of his contract at Meadow Lane,[41][42] the move did go through as predicted.

New York Red Bulls[edit]

Rodgers depicted on an iconic Red Bull Arena supporter banner.

After a lengthy process, Rodgers eventually signed with Major League Soccer club New York Red Bulls in January 2011.[43] He made his MLS debut two months later, in a goalless draw with the Columbus Crew.[44] The following month, Rodgers scored his first two goals and assisted strike-partner Thierry Henry in a 3–0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.[45][46] For this feat he was named as the MLS 'player of the week'.[47] Rodgers told reporters that "this is the happiest I've been in football."[48] He scored nine goals in 23 league games, as head coach Hans Backe tended to select Rodgers ahead of USA international Juan Agudelo as Henry's strike partner. This was despite Rodgers missing two months of the campaign with plantar fasciitis.[49] His "feisty nature" led him to become a fan's favourite at the Red Bull Arena.[50]

Lillestrøm[edit]

On 30 March 2012, the New York Red Bulls had to end their contract with Rodgers as he was unable to secure a visa to play in the United States,[51] and the same day he signed a contract with Norwegian Tippeligaen club Lillestrøm SK lasting till the end of the 2012 season.[52] He scored four minutes into his debut two days later, in a 2–2 draw with Rosenborg at the Åråsen Stadion.[53] However, after failing to cement his place in the first team, Rodgers and Lillestrøm decided to part ways during the summer break of Tippeligaen.[54]

Portsmouth[edit]

On 16 August 2012, Portsmouth signed Rodgers, and nine other players, on a one-month contract.[55] Five days later, he scored for the club in a 2–2 draw with Colchester United, and also set up a goal for Jordan Obita.[56] He scored his first goal at Fratton Park on 4 September, in a 2–2 draw with Bournemouth in the Football League Trophy, before converting the winning penalty in the resulting shoot-out.[57] Five days later, Rodgers scored a 25 yard free kick in a 3–0 win over Crawley Town.[58] Rodgers suffered an injury on his left thigh at the end of September, ruling him out action for three weeks.[59]

Return to Shrewsbury Town[edit]

On 9 November, he returned to the club where he started his career, Shrewsbury Town, on loan, with the move set to become permanent in the January transfer window.[60] On returning to the New Meadow, Rodgers said that: "People do say ‘don’t ever go back’, but what’s the worst that can happen?"[61] After the move was made permanent in January, Rodgers said that he hoped to stay beyond the end of the 2012–13 season.[62] He left the club in March 2013, after scoring just twice in 15 appearances and failing to win a place in the starting line-up in six weeks.[63]

Hammarby IF[edit]

He signed with Swedish Superettan club Hammarby IF in July 2013.[64]

Forest Green Rovers[edit]

Rodgers signed with Conference National club Forest Green Rovers in February 2014.[65][66] He made his debut at The New Lawn on 8 March as a late substitute for Lee Hughes in a 3–2 win over Cambridge United.[67] He scored his first competitive goal for Rovers in an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie 4–1 win over Gloucester City on 25 October 2014.[68] On 1 December 2014, it was confirmed that he had agreed to part ways with Forest Green by mutual consent.[69]

Personal life[edit]

Rodgers was arrested in January 2002 after allegedly assaulting Hartlepool United defender Chris Westwood, having confronted the player in the Victoria Park car park.[70]

In April 2003, Rodgers was ordered to carry out 100 hours community service and pay £5,000 in compensation by Warwick Crown Court after a firework set by Rodgers misfired and hit a sixteen year old girl, causing significant damage to the girl's face. The incident occurred in October 2002, outside the Spitfire Inn pub in Castle Bromwich.[71]

Rodgers was given an 'adult caution for a public order offence' by the Somerset Police Force, after an incident in April 2009.[72] On 1 October 2009, Rodgers was arrested and bailed in connection with a disturbance in Nottingham city centre, following a drinking session with his Notts County teammates.[73]

International career[edit]

On 4 November 2003, whilst with Shrewsbury Town in the Conference National, Rodgers won one cap for England under Paul Fairclough at semi-professional level.[74] A 2–2 draw with Belgium under-20s, Rodgers provided an assist for Sam Ricketts before grabbing a goal himself with a 25 yard free kick two minutes before the final whistle.[75]

Statistics[edit]

As of 1 December 2014.
Season Club Division League National Cup League Cup Other[76] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1999–2000[77] Shrewsbury Town Third Division 6 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 8 1
2000–01[78] 26 7 0 0 0 0 1 0 27 7
2001–02[79] 38 22 1 0 1 0 1 0 41 22
2002–03[80] 36 16 4 0 1 0 6 4 47 20
2003–04[81] Football Conference 34 13 2 0 0 0 5 2 41 15
2004–05[82] League Two 36 6 1 0 1 1 2 1 40 8
Total 176 65 7 0 3 1 15 7 204 73
2005–06[83] Crewe Alexandra Championship 26 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 6
2006–07[84] League One 12 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 13 3
Total 38 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 39 9
2006–07[84] Port Vale League One 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 3
2007–08[85] 36 9 3 1 1 1 1 1 41 12
2008–09[86] League Two 15 4 0 0 1 1 1 0 17 5
Total 59 16 3 1 2 2 2 1 66 20
2008–09[86] Yeovil Town League One 22 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 3
Total 22 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 3
2009–10[87] Notts County League Two 42 13 6 1 1 0 0 0 49 14
2010–11[88] League One 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 5 1
Total 46 13 7 2 1 0 0 0 54 15
2011 New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer 23 9 0 0 2 1 0 0 25 10
Total 23 9 0 0 2 1 0 0 25 10
2012 Lillestrøm SK Tippeligaen 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
Total 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
2012–13[89] Portsmouth League One 10 2 1 0 0 0 2 1 13 3
Total 10 2 1 0 0 0 2 1 13 3
2012–13[89] Shrewsbury Town League One 15 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 2
Total 15 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 2
2013[90] Hammarby IF Superettan 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Total 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
2013–14[91] Forest Green Rovers Conference National 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 0
Total 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 0
Career total 421 120 21 3 8 4 30 9 480 136

Honours[edit]

Shrewsbury Town
Notts County

References[edit]

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External links[edit]