A true Canadian soccer trailblazer is hanging up his boots, as Ashtone Morgan announced Monday that he has retired from professional soccer.
The 32-year-old spent the final year and a half of his illustrious professional career with Forge FC in the Canadian Premier League. He lifted the North Star Shield with the club last year, starting and playing 78 minutes in the 2022 CPL Final, a 2-0 win against Atlético Ottawa.
The Toronto native spent the majority of his professional career with his hometown Toronto FC in Major League Soccer, becoming the first TFC academy graduate to appear for the Canadian national team in 2011. He made his professional debut on October 20, 2010 in a 1-0 victory against Árabe Unido in the Concacaf Champions League.
Morgan made 168 appearances with TFC over ten years, winning the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2017 as well as the Canadian Championship five times. Morgan also earned 18 caps for the Canadian men’s national team.
He stepped onto the pitch for the final time as a professional on Friday, coming on for the last ten minutes and wearing the captain’s armband during a 2-0 victory over Vancouver FC.
“It has been a hard decision, but it is a beautiful decision for myself and my family and everything for my future right now,” Morgan told CanPL.ca’s Kristian Jack in an emotional interview after his final match on Friday.
Morgan joined Forge in February of 2022, making his debut against Cruz Azul in the Concacaf Champions League at Tim Hortons Field. He would go on to make 41 appearances for Forge, scoring once and adding three assists. He played in two finals for Forge, as aside from winning the CPL last year he also went 84 minutes during a penalty shootout loss to his former side Toronto FC in the 2020 Canadian Championship final.
“It has been great to play for Hamilton for my last days and my last years, and win,” said Morgan. “Coming to this winning club and playing for Bobby and be with Bekks [Kyle Bekker] and [Tristan] Borges and all the guys all over again. It has been an amazing experience and I have been so happy to be here.”
What is next for Morgan remains to be seen, although he has indicated that he will stay in the sport. That is excellent news for Canadian soccer, as a true leader in the sport in this country isn’t done making an impact on it just yet.