BALTIMORE, March 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication today announced the launch of Black SoccerLab, a think tank dedicated to the study of soccer in the African American community and across the African diaspora.
With a concentration on research, media programming, and service, Black SoccerLab’s mission is to share the narratives of the Black soccer community and showcase its development around the world. The lab, which will operate from the SGJC’s Center for the Study of Race and Culture in Sports, shall highlight stories, examine issues, and document history.
Black SoccerLab is introduced at an unprecedented time where African Americans are identifying as soccer fans in larger numbers and participating in the sport at every level. Morgan State professor Edward G. Robinson III, the director of the Center, will manage Black SoccerLab and support student-directed projects.
“Soccer is beloved by black people all around the world, and we want to capture that excitement and explore the evolution of that tradition in our research and projects,” Robinson said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to collect and disseminate information about an unexplored community. As a think tank, there are so many ways to engage. We plan to connect with the pulse of the Black soccer community and share the message.”
Instrumental to Black SoccerLab’s integration into this space, the Center has partnered with advisors Akbar Majeed, founder of Concrete2Green, and Irv Smalls Jr., executive director of F.C. Harlem – two soccer executives with long-time ties to the Black soccer community.
“The Black SoccerLab is a groundbreaking platform for Black people to drive the narratives that are important to us around the world’s most popular sport and its growth in the United States,” Smalls said. “Our participation and impact in the sport require a perspective that is uniquely ours.”
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and its roots run deep across the African diaspora. Americans, however, have traditionally passed on soccer.
Over the past 30 years, the sport has developed modestly in the American marketplace, enough to support the growth of Major League Soccer. Still, many American sports fans have held soccer at arms-length. They choose football, basketball, and baseball ahead of soccer.
African Americans have yet to fully adopt soccer. The future, however, portends another outcome. Across America, the number of black soccer players continues to grow, evidenced by their collective increased participation in youth soccer, college soccer, Major League Soccer, and the U.S. National Team. Black sports fans, who have traditionally measured just a blip on the radar, are finding their way to the pitch.
Black SoccerLab is well-positioned to monitor that growth. Concrete2Green founder Akbar Majeed has actively worked at the grassroots level to help bolster that growth.
“It’s important for us to create our own properties like Black SoccerLab that offer authentic engagement and access to the Black community,” Majeed said. “I’m excited about our partnership with MSU, especially because of the rich history HBCU’s have had in being in the forefront of cultural empowerment.”