Major League Soccer

Justin Morrow to 'make world a better place' after retiring

Lizzy Becherano
Toronto FC player Justin Morrow to retire following 2021 season
Toronto FC player Justin Morrow to retire following 2021 season / Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Toronto FC's Justin Morrow has revealed plans to “make this world a better place" after announcing he will retire from professional football at the end of the 2021 season.

The 34-year-old spent the first four years of his career with the San Jose Earthquakes, winning the Supporters’ Shield before departing for Toronto in 2013. 

Morrow arrived to a struggling Canadian side that consecutively failed to make the playoffs since debuting in MLS in 2007. 

“I was afraid," Morrow told media on a virtual press conference. "I was afraid for my career but it’s been the biggest blessing of my life to be traded here. To be in this city, to be a part of this club and go through everything we’ve gone through. It’s been a dream come true.”

The veteran defender has gone on to feature in 246 matches across all competitions for Toronto, the second-most in club history. He played a vital role in Greg Vanney’s treble-winning era in 2017, lifting the MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield and the Canadian Championship. 

Off the pitch, the defender was named executive director of Black Players for Change (BPC) following the organization’s launch on 19 June and was awarded the 2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year.

"I came to this decision knowing my light is starting to shine brighter off the field than on it right now, and that comes with a lot of joy," Morrow continued.

"I do know that I want to make this world a better place, but I haven’t decided which way is the best way to do that yet. Maybe it’s politics, maybe it’s a non-profit, maybe it’s running a big company. I know I want to start with helping this club win, I know I want to stay. This club means so much to me. We’ve had positive conversations, so hopefully it works out and I get to stay.”

Morrow is set to retire following the 2021 MLS season, which should be on 7 November as Toronto FC sit in last place of the overall league table and will likely not make the 2021 playoffs. 

“I’ll miss the camaraderie in the locker room, being with the guys," Morrow remarked. "Going through the good times and the bad. There’s just nothing like it I’ve experienced. I’ll miss playing at BMO Field in front of our wonderful fans. I still think it’s the best place in MLS to watch a football match.”