Crystal Palace Women’s goalkeeper Chloe Morgan says her inclusion in Football’s Black List has inspired her to speak out even more in the fight for equality in 2021.
The initiative was founded 11 years ago by Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds to highlight the most influential individuals from the black community in the sport.
Morgan made the list for this year – alongside Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Palace winger Wilfried Zaha – for raising awareness of black inclusion and LGBT+ representation in the women’s game.
The 31-year-old was surprised to be included but is not ready to rest on her laurels after year in which she questioned Tottenham’s difference in values for their men’s and women’s teams and the decision by the FA to stop girls’ academies training during the second lockdown while boys’ continued.
Morgan said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be on that list, especially when you have someone like Marcus Rashford who has done amazing things in campaigning for free school meals for children and got the Government to do a massive U-turn.
“It was such a powerful thing so to be included alongside someone who has done so much. I just thought, ‘How have I done this?’
“Obviously I am over the moon to be nominated and it means a great deal to me and, if anything, it has inspired me to do more of the same and speak up and speak out on those issues even more.”
Morgan has experienced plenty in 2020; from seeing her debut season in the Women’s Super League with Spurs cut short to relishing a new lease of life at Palace.
After helping Tottenham earn promotion to the top flight, the shot-stopper was back-up to Rebecca Spencer for the majority of the campaign before the coronavirus pandemic saw the division halted in March and eventually ended prematurely.
In June, following six years with the Lilywhites, Morgan departed Spurs and took to Twitter to voice how her values were not always aligned with the main club, after the women’s side were only able to train at a state-of-the-art training facility in Enfield once a week – something which has now changed.
“The general theme for me and the thing I am most passionate about is gender equality in sport,” she said.
“I think, based on my own experiences at Spurs, I felt I could speak out on things I have experienced.
“Moving it on to the wider picture, when you look at the FA’s treatment of girls, not only with the FA prize money which I find such a bugbear, but how the girls and women were treated compared to the boys and men throughout the pandemic.
“As a WSL player, who had their season cut short because that was a decision made by the FA, to see the Premier League return very shortly after, and now the more recent decisions to not allow the girls’ academies to continue, but the boys’ academies could…
“There are still massive differences and comparisons in how the women’s and girls’ game is in comparison to boys and men. In 2020 you wonder how that situation is allowed to continue, but with what has happened recently a lot more people have been vocal about these issues.
“Casey Stoney has and now we’ve seen a turnaround at Manchester United, who have opened it up for girls and Brighton did a fantastic job of getting their girls’ academy open. There is more focus on these gender-equality issues but the FA still have a bit of a way to go.”
Going from from full-time football with Tottenham last season back to part-time with Crystal Palace was a “massive transition” for the goalkeeper, but it has not swayed her determination to make a difference.
Back playing regularly with the Eagles and loving every minute, Morgan – who is also a lawyer – will continue to do everything she can to help the next generation.
“I feel a sense of responsibility to speak out on things I see that still needs changing and I think my main drive was to not want the situation to be the same as it is in 15 years’ time,” she said.
“If I have kids and a daughter who chooses to play football, I don’t want to have to sit down and have a conversation with her about these issues still being ongoing. I want change and I feel a sense of responsibility to try and get that change moving.”