FRISCO, Texas — When MLS players take the field over the weekend, you'll notice something different about their jerseys.
The league announced this week that the players from 28 clubs taking the field on June 18 and June 19 will don jerseys with Juneteenth-inspired numbers. The special design was created by Judah, a Black LGBTQ+ artist from Childersburg, Alabama.
Judah, who now resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., created the numbers – a vibrant yellow, green, and red color palette – to represent the blood, soil and prosperity of Africa and its people, MLS officials said.
"I am so excited to have the opportunity to create a design to celebrate the beauty and resilience of what Juneteenth represents,” said Judah. “The freedom to express what it means to me as a Black queer woman was liberating and I look forward to partnering with MLS and Black Players For Change to share this with the world.”
“We are all born with an inalienable right to be free, to live a life of value, self-expression and dignity,” said Sola Winley, executive vice president for Major League Soccer. “Juneteenth is a special moment for Major League Soccer to honor this truth and to celebrate and commemorate the significant contributions and sacrifices of Black Americans to our nation’s culture, commerce, and community.”
The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off in commemorative boxes detailed with the powerful poem “Freedom,” written by legendary African American poet, novelist, and social activist Langston Hughes. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit organizations supporting and uplifting Black communities in the markets of MLS clubs.
Here is a full list of the benefiting organizations throughout the league:
- Atlanta United: Morehouse University Foundation
- Austin FC: Six Square
- Charlotte FC: Johnson C. Smith University
- Chicago Fire FC: My Block My Hood My City
- FC Cincinnati: Juneteenth Cincinnati
- Colorado Rapids: JMF Corporation
- Columbus SC: VoyceNow Foundation
- D.C. United: Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid
- FC Dallas: S.M. Wright Foundation
- Houston Dynamo: The Forge for Families
- Sporting Kansas City: Kansas City G.I.F.T.
- LA Galaxy: BOSS Academy and Project Blue
- Los Angeles FC: Color the Water
- Inter Miami CF: Mourning Family Foundation
- Minnesota United: Voices for Racial Justice
- CF Montreal: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal
- Nashville SC: My Brother’s Keeper Nashville
- New England Revolution: Man Up, Inc.
- New York Red Bulls: National Black Child Development Institute
- New York City FC: City in the Community
- Orlando City SC: My Brother’s Keeper Orlando
- Philadelphia Union: Design FC
- Portland Timbers: Maurice Lucas Foundation
- Real Salt Lake: Project Success Coalition
- San Jose Earthquakes: African American Community Services Agency
- Seattle Sounders FC: RAVE Foundation
- Toronto FC: Foundation for Black Communities
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Ethos Lab