Together, we continue to stand with the black community and are committed to playing our part in the change we want to see in the world. Soccer is the world's sport and has the power to unite all ethnicities and celebrate diversity. We recognize the problem that exists will not be solved in a day, but it’s a commitment to conversation, growth and representation of black athletes in the soccer community that will cultivate change. 
Listen
No voice goes unheard
Educate
No field will divide us
Together
We can create change
  Join us as we sit down to better understand an African American club coach and pro player's perspective in the soccer community…

(Much gratitude & respect to Bryan Wallace and the Lewis-Osborne family for sharing their stories)  
CLUB COACH'S PERSPECTIVE
(SZ) As a club coach, talk to us about what your experience has been as an African American player (now coach) growing up and also in the sports community?

(Bryan) I grew up in Jamaica, I spent my first 19 years there, we did not have racism but we had classism, when I had just moved to the US, I wanted to be accepted by my white team mates, so I did everything possible so that they would accept me, I was overly kind to them, I always bought them things, I allowed them to make fun of my Jamaican accent and to make up assumptions about my culture, it did not work, as they never invited me to parties or events they would attend, it was the worse period of my life. To me being successful is getting to the point of being fully comfortable with who you are and it doesn't matter how many things you've acquired or achieved, the ability to learn to say no! And not to feel guilty about it, to me is about the greatest success I've achieved, today I demand only the best for myself. 

(SZ) : Are there any actionable items you could suggest to our players/families/college coaches that we can take now to make a difference in the battle for equality in the #blacklivesmatter movement?

(Bryan) I’ve thought a lot about this, the conversation is impossible with an uninformed audience to contemplate the levity of the current climate and the history of this human rights pandemic that goes back hundreds of years. I’ve come across a few people who can’t seem to comprehend that the protests are about police brutality and equality, I’m not sure that everyone is interested in change. Black people are not monolithic, there are a lot of issues within the black community, however the protest going on here in the US and around the world is a human rights issue, I feel sad for the few humans who don’t wish to respect other humans. Since none of us are civil rights or human rights experts, I’m going to personally refrain from any commentary, advising or casting my opinions, Instead, I’ll share the actions I’m taking to be a part of the solution. For example, I have donated to a cause, I’ve shared posts from the protest I attended and photos of me with a few good police officers, and I’ve attended a peaceful protest in my city Aliso Viejo and I’m practicing to be kinder every day, and more conscious of others differences and struggles. 
PRO PLAYER'S PERSPECTIVE
(SZ) As a professional player, talk to us about what your experience has been as an African American growing up and also in the sports community?
 
(Ricky) : As a black kid growing up in Houston, TX in a predominantly white neighborhood, I had mixed experiences. I was usually the only black kid on the soccer team. I also played basketball, football, and baseball and those teams were pretty diverse. Most of the other black kids from those teams didn't know I played soccer and I wanted to keep it that way. It wasn't cool for a black kid to play soccer so I hid it from them until 9th grade when the word got out. I remember white kids from other teams making racial slurs when I was in junior high and high school but I always shook it off and kept playing. I'll never forget the first time I went to Regional Camp in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when I was 14 years old, my parents told me to not leave the camp grounds or do anything stupid. They told me about the KKK and how blacks were treated in some small towns in that part of the country. From a young age, my parents taught me that we were treated differently and we always had to watch out for each other.   

(SZ) : Are there any actionable items you could suggest to our players/families/college coaches that we can take now to make a difference in the battle for equality in the #blacklivesmatter movement?

(Ricky): The beauty about sports (soccer specifically) is that it brings everyone together regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. I think the biggest action item is for people to learn and understand the black culture and the systemic racism that has existed for centuries. There's a ton of literature, documentaries, articles, etc. on these issues. Hopefully if we can understand each other better and gain perspective, we can start to put reforms in place that are better suited for all of us collectively. Let's not be afraid to discuss these issues with one another. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but that's ok. We all have to get out of our comfort zones in order to grow, just as we would on the pitch. 
We call on the soccer community to join us with gaining knowledge and perspective. Together, we can all do better. 

Team ScoutingZone
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