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Black NWSL players talk building a career in American soccer

Black Women in Sports

Black NWSL players talk building a career in American soccer

By briafelicien via

Midge Purce, Lynn Williams, and Taylor Smith on their experiences as black soccer players in America.

In the 27th minute of Portland’s June 2 home match against Chicago, Simone Charley slipped a ball past two defenders to Midge Purce, who beat her defender and the goalkeeper to find an empty net. Charley and Purce connected again in the 31st minute. The Thorns ended up winning 3-0.

Two crafty touches from Charley. Two smart finishes from Purce. Two black women putting on a show in front of 19,000 people. It felt like a moment.

“Because it is so rare, it’s kind of hard to ignore,” Purce said in a phone interview with All For XI. “I do think it’s something that you notice. I walked to the bench and one of my teammates said, ‘Look at that black girl magic out there.’”

In 2018, Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year, Imani Dorsey the 2018 Rookie of the Year, and Lynn Williams was a finalist for MVP. With more black players succeeding professionally in a white-dominated sport, it’s a good time to check in on the state of diversity and opportunity for black players in America’s top level of pro women’s soccer. All For XI reached out …

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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