Logan Roberts - Utica City FC
What makes you most proud about being a Black man?
What makes me most proud is knowing the incredible amount of resilience and perseverance that previous generations of Black people put in just so I could be here today. I’m so proud knowing what those before me had to fight for and deal with for years, and it gives me courage to want to do the same for future generations of Black people.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is important to me because it gives everyone an opportunity to learn about stories that aren’t told in our history classes growing up. I’ve learned so much about Black heritage in the past few Februarys because people are given the platform to tell stories about their families and communities, that they might not have been able to tell in other circumstances. So, the opportunity to educate others during this month means a lot to me.
Who was your greatest influence/role model growing up?
My greatest influence growing up was my father. He has had to persevere through so much coming from North Philly, and dealt with a lot of racism during his time as a State Trooper. He achieved all the goals he set out for himself, and he never let anyone who said those racist things to him win.
In athletics I would say my biggest influence was Thierry Henry. He was one of the best players in the world when I started to fall in love with soccer, and seeing someone that looked like me being so good at this game just made me love the sport even more. I would also have to mention how empowering it was as a 7-year-old to watch Tiger Woods come through and dominant a sport like golf the way that he did as a Black man. Representation matters and seeing someone that looks like you being successful in a field where they usually don’t look like you is an incredible feeling.
What is one thing you wish people knew about being a Black athlete?
I would say it’s that as athletes, we’re all going through so many things on and off the field at any time. I deal with the same things that all athletes deal with mentally and physically; fatigue, injuries, self-confidence etc.- but I also have to deal with different forms of racism in my life and the lives of others that can be just as exhausting as the game is. Having empathy or a basic understanding of what we are going through can go a long way.
What barriers have you had to overcome to reach this point in your career?
I’ve been very fortunate in my career to not have had too many hurdles, but I think the one thing that I’ve had to overcome in my soccer career is the stereotype that many Black soccer players all over the world face - the notion of “Pace and Power”- that Black players are just strong and fast. Players all over the world are often typecast in this “Pace and Power” and it’s harmful and reductive. I was often told in high school and college that it made sense I was fast because I was Black, or would later tell me that they didn’t expect me to be good, just fast. Yes my speed is one of my best attributes as a player, but there are many other aspects, including my work ethic and my Soccer IQ, that have gotten me to this level.