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Scoring the Goal

Morgan Oliver-Allen


Behind the Shot

In December 2014, the United States and Cuba announced the beginning of the process of normalizing relations between the two countries. Within a few months, long-standing travel restrictions were lifted. For a brief period of time, the Cold War animosity between the United States and its neighbor 90 miles to the south seemed to have eased.

Morgan recalls: “We were there for 10 days. We had no plans, no schedule, no reservations. There’s no cell service, no internet. We didn’t have any specific plans. We just kinda traveled around for 10 days, living out of our backpacks.”

On their last night in Cuba, while exploring the streets and alleys of the city, Morgan and his girlfriend encountered this group of children playing a pickup game of soccer in the dusty street. Morgan’s love of soccer helped him build a bridge with the children. “If there’s one thing I love about soccer, it’s how it brings communities and cultures from around the world together.”

“It was hard to get any casual photos, so I sat in the corner and kinda kept my camera down, and took some photos of these kids playing ball in the street. After I shot a couple of photos, I came over and kicked the ball around with the kids.

“This wound up being one of the most magical experiences in my life, and the sunset felt like it lasted forever. We hung out here for about a half-hour or so. I’m a soccer player by trade, so I’ll never say no to a game with the locals.”