Jeremy Ebobisse, Justin Morrow: Black Players Coalition has entire MLS is Back Tournament to make a statement

    As the Black Players Coalition approaches the MLS is Back Tournament and the first MLS games to be played since the organization’s formation, they want to make sure they get it right. 

    That means looking at the entire competition as a platform, not just its opening games, Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse said in an interview with the ACC Network’s Dalen Cuff.

    “Ultimately, it’s about not rushing into this tournament thinking that we only have one moment in this tournament to let the world know who we are,” Ebobisse said. “I think there are going to be many, many periods throughout the month for us to make a statement and for us to leverage the opportunity of that tournament to spread the reach of our organization, and we’re going to get that done.”

    Ebobisse joined coalition executive director Justin Morrow and Cuff to discuss how the group plans to begin implementing an agenda and selecting issues to prioritize. Among the first, Ebobisse said, may be as simple as showing the sport is for Black boys, too. 

    “We also want to make soccer a sport for Black kids to feel comfortable,” Ebobisse said. “We feel like that’s an avenue for success. I know growing up for me personally, there was a lot of talk all over that my place was as a basketball player, as a football player.”

    Morrow, an 11-year veteran of the league, said the organization knows there needs to be more Black representation among MLS coaching staffs and front office executives. However, that will be less of an immediate focus than — and eventually a natural extension of — improving experiences for Black players.

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    “We’re looking forward to putting in place some of these initiatives that you’re talking about,” the Toronto FC defender said. “When you talk about hiring black coaches and GMs and executives, that’s going to come further down the line. But being in touch with all the current GMs about the plight of the black player pool in Major League Soccer right now is going to be what you see.”

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