In collaboration with Black Players for Change (BPC), Major League Soccer announced on Thursday this weekend they will kick off several Juneteenth-inspired initiatives to recognize the holiday, including special edition jerseys, commemorative boxes, and more.
“This league-wide recognition is a wonderful celebration of freedom made possible by our deep collaboration with Black Players for Change,” said MLS Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Office Sola Winley in a league release. “It was our collective hope to honor this significant moment in American history by celebrating the freedom fighters of our past as well as acknowledging the freedom fighters of today that continue to shine a light on the need for equality, prosperity and freedom for all. In the span of only one year, we have ideated together to take meaningful actions for change both inside and outside of our sport.”
For the weekend of June 18-20, teams will wear jerseys with Juneteenth-inspired numbers designed by Indianapolis native Israel Solomon. Here’s what Solomon said about the jerseys:
“When approached with the opportunity to design the Juneteenth-inspired numbers, I wanted to use this platform to educate within a work of art,” said Solomon. “After collaborating with MLS and BPC, their clear vision to use this piece as a means to celebrate and educate led to the creation of something that was bold, prideful and visually attractive.”
The jerseys as well as commemorative boxes will be auctioned off from June 21 until July 19, with proceeds going towards organizations dedicating to supporting and uplifting Black communities. Along with this, different clubs will be hosting various events during that weekend.
While the Portland Timbers don’t have a specific event, the group Black Women’s Players for Change and Portland Thorns FC will be hosting a food drive before the Thorns’ match on June 20. For more details on that, click here.
For the full press release, click here.