Former Toronto FC midfielder Warren Creavalle making his mark off the field

Former Toronto FC midfielder Warren Creavalle making his mark off the field

Emotions ran high before the opening game of the MLS is Back Tournament opener July 8 in Florida when more than 170 Black players, coaches and officials joined Orlando City and Inter Miami players on the field at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

Players stood, their fists raised, for eight minutes 46 seconds — the time a Minneapolis police officer spent kneeling on George Floyd’s neck before he died.

It was a powerful, silent protest. And a remarkable show of solidarity and brotherhood.

“I think everybody on that field had a chill,” said Philadelphia Union midfielder Warren Creavalle. “I remember getting back to the hotel and it felt like I had just played a game — the adrenalin was still that high. It was an amazing first night.”

The 30-year-old Creavalle, a former Toronto FC player, played his part in getting the Black Lives Matter message out by designing a T-shirt that players and coaches wore throughout the tournament. Many still do.

Design was already part of his game.

Creavalle and his cousin Stephen Creavalle started their Creavalle clothing line in 2014, the same year that Warren joined Toronto in a July trade from the Houston Dynamo. Former Toronto FC defender Ashtone Morgan, now with Real Salt Lake, was involved early on and continues to work with the Creavalles on the project.

Philadelphia plays TFC on Saturday in Toronto’s adopted pandemic home of East Hartford, Conn., in a battle of 8-2-4 teams. The Union currently holds second place in the Eastern Conference on goal difference over Toronto — two points behind Columbus which plays at FC Dallas on Saturday.

“It’ll be a good measuring stick for both teams,” Creavalle said of the game.

Creavalle may be an observer on the weekend. The nine-year pro sat out the last two games with an adductor strain but is nearing a return.

Creavalle’s T-shirt has the words Black Lives Matter in gold lettering on the front, as well as a statement on the back inspired by a blog post from Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse. Proceeds from sale of the so-called #MLSisBlack solidarity top — it is available both through the MLS store and Creavalle’s clothing line website ( — are going to the NAACP Legal Defence Fund, 100 Black Men of America, and Player’s Coalition in partnership with Black Players for Change.

Creavalle takes pride in helping get the message across for the players and the Black community.

“I was really humbled to be able to create that, and to have it visible like that in the (MLS is Back Tournament) bubble and past that,” he said. “For it to be available by the league, I think, was amazing.”

The idea came up during a Zoom call between players looking to make a statement at the tournament’s opening game. The idea expanded, with Philadelphia teammate Ray Gaddis suggesting Creavalle design something and the league jumped on board .

With the pandemic and the ongoing fight for social justice and racial equality, it’s been an unprecedented year.

“So many different factors, so many different perspectives of what has been just a crazy whirlwind year,” said Creavalle. “But through it all, I think everybody has to find ways not just cope but see what good can come out of every situation. So that’s kind of been my focus throughout this whole year.”

Asked if progress is being made, Creavalle says he sees positives in “shining light on things that people may or may not have known were going on.”

“I think a lot of people have spoken their truth. A lot of people have shared their stories,” he said. “That itself is progress. I think it’s getting harder and harder to hide from those truths. And if it continues that way, I think it will be really tough to look yourself in the mirror if you are hiding from those truth if you continue to do so.”

Creavalle left Toronto for Philadelphia in an August 2015 trade. But he still has fond memories about his time as a Red.

“I think there were a lot of foundational moments for me in that city,” he said. “I’m really grateful for my time there.”

Creavalle, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Georgia, has found a home in Philadelphia. His wife, originally from Houston, is expecting their first child in January.

Injury aside, he is enjoying his soccer with the Union.

“Football is football, man. And it’s always better if you’re winning as well. It’s been enjoyable out on the field. To this day, it’s still a place where you can play the game you love. Leveraging that, I would say, to then elevate messages has been really powerful for me.”

Internationally he has represented Guyana, where his father was born, although he has opted to focus on club soccer in recent months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats turn minority into majority in British Columbia election

The New Democrats won a majority government in the British Columbia election… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read