Trey Ford might have received the HEC Cretan, Canada’s highest particular person honor in varsity soccer, however the battle has solely simply begun.
Ford will attempt to show himself on an expert stage—a troublesome feat for any quarterback, however as an individual of shade, he has extra hoops to leap than a lot of his counterparts.
As a black quarterback, Ford has at all times needed to battle for what he deserves. Too typically, black quarterbacks are sometimes given the tag of ‘athlete’ after they can do a couple of job nicely. Black quarterbacks who can each run and throw soccer are sometimes pigeonholed right into a seemingly innocuous label of ‘athlete’.
Whereas on its floor, being known as an ‘athlete’ seems like a great factor, however as with the broader society, for a few years, it has been an excuse to perpetuate double requirements.
“Clearly I am black and I am additionally very quick, so individuals label me as an athlete and assume, ‘He can flip round and play one other place,'” Ford mentioned. “I actually consider that I’m the quarterback and I really feel like if a staff provides me a shot, they may see that I’m the quarterback, not only a receiver and an athlete.”
Ford confirmed why he is not simply an athlete final season because the pivot of Waterloo. The fifth-year student-athlete was awarded U SPORTS Soccer’s MVP in 2021 after averaging 252 yards per sport.
Ford grew to become the primary fighter in this system’s historical past to win the award, and an necessary a part of his sport is his capability to grapple on the bottom and elevate giant yards. As a double menace, Ford is more likely to throw fifty-yard bombs at opposing numbers or torches the protection together with his toes.
In 2021, the leisure and leisure main was additionally third within the nation in regular-season speeding yards with 629, greater than 100 yards per sport as a quarterback.
Ford’s achievements have made him a trailblazer, making historical past for the College of Waterloo, however extra importantly, Ford grew to become the primary black quarterback to be awarded the HEC Creighton Trophy.
“I positively wish to see some extra black quarterbacks on the varsity stage and get an opportunity at U Sports activities,” Ford mentioned. “There have been occasions once I was enjoying again in highschool the place though I used to be doing higher than the quarterback, he was being recruited because the quarterback and he mentioned ‘Trey is unquestionably going to take the subsequent stage. The receiver might play’, or ‘he might run again and play’.
Black quarterbacks cope with elevated criticism within the quarterback place. It’s typically questioned whether or not or not they’ll make massive throws, or if they may rely solely on their athleticism and melee.
One cause Ford selected Waterloo was as a result of he was supported as a quarterback, not being typecast to be a receiver due to his velocity, as was the case with some high-profile occasions.
“Some colleges talked to me about relocating, however I used to be fortunate that Burtt gave me a chance,” Ford mentioned.
Luckily for Ford, he had a supporting forged of coaches who gave him the chance to reach management positions.
“We’ve not even as soon as referred to Trey as an athlete,” Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia mentioned. “We knew he was the quarterback. I instructed him he could be the quarterback for us, and he and Tyrell (his brother) have been going to show our schedule.”
Whereas Ford’s on-field achievements have proven a semblance of societal progress, extra work stays to be achieved, each on and off the sector.
Corey Grant, offensive coordinator, and newly appointed Fairness, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Lead on the College of McMaster’s Athletic Division, believes Ford’s approval for HEC Creighton is an indication of progress and an absence of inclusivity. sign. Play.
,Trey Ford is an indication of what a place we may be in for a black quarterback,” Grant mentioned. It is giving the youngsters a chance and never simply pigeonholing them… Given the appropriate alternative and help, they’ll attempt in all positions and particularly the quarterback place and he is a terrific consultant of that. That what black and racist quarterbacks may very well be sooner or later. ,
Somebody ought to at all times be first. However on the identical time the query also needs to come up why it took so lengthy.
“It additionally exhibits that there’s a lack of that inclusion on the college stage. Hopefully, this may occasionally begin to change the minds of coaches as they’re recruiting quarterbacks. I am glad that when Trey was admitted he mentioned: ‘No, I do not wish to play second place, I am the quarterback.’ He’s now setting the desk for everybody. ,
Though Ford has proven what may be achieved with the appropriate help, Grant’s distinctive place as an authority on the sector and as a liaison for help and inclusivity inside the neighborhood provides him a voice to talk up for these in want. which have been beforehand unheard.
“We’d like somebody to talk up and help our racial student-athletes, but additionally a voice that folks will hearken to,” mentioned Grant, two-time Grey Cup champion. “They want somebody to go to, somebody who’s of their nook, somebody who appears to be like like them, and somebody they have been by.”
Ford was given an opportunity and he took full benefit of it.
However the work doesn’t finish right here.
Based on Grant it’s now extra necessary than ever to herald completely different views.
“If we at all times have the identical voices and views in our teaching rooms, we’re going to be steady. With extra ladies and extra range in these locker rooms, we’ll assist these younger individuals perceive tips on how to relate to completely different swimming pools of people and turn out to be higher leaders of tomorrow.”
Grant will be a part of the Vanier Cup broadcast at halftime to debate extra about inclusivity with U SPORTS Soccer.
The Scotiabank Vanier Cup, offered by Levio between the Saskatchewan Huskies and the Western Mustangs, is broadcast reside CBC TV. Additionally out there on-line through broadcast cbcssports.ca And CBC Gem, and the CBC Sports activities app. will likely be out there on the french broadcast TVSports.