BLACK OUT STORIES | Justin Morrow
Let me tell you about this Jersey. I wore this jersey in our 2019 Eastern Conference Championship game versus Atlanta United. It’s significant to me not because of the outcome, but because of the stories behind the game that night. The stories that often go untold. Atlanta is a tough place to play but I love their crowd. I’ve simply never played in front of that many Black people before. It made me proud to see because it’s a side of the game that so many are still searching for. The culture..they have it.
On top of that, it was my first playoff match against Darlington Nagbe. ‘D’ as we call him. Many don’t know that we both grew up playing in the Cleveland soccer scene. We’ve faced off in high school, college and many times in pro before that. Even won a Gold Cup together in 2017. But in those early days, we were definitely two of the few black kids playing. How did we get here? Are the young black kids in Cleveland fighting the same system we did? For me, it was special to do battle with him that night.
I hope that whomever gets this jersey will wear it as a symbol of pride. Because since that night, Darlington and I, and all the other Black players are fighting together, for you. The next generation. Whether in Cleveland, or Atlanta, or some other unnamed city, if the odds are against you we want you to know that this game is also for you. Black excellence exists in soccer too.