It has been a long road for Justin Morrow.
One of the best soccer player to walk the halls of Saint Ignatius High School, Morrow guided the Soccer Cats to consecutive OHSAA Division I State Championships in 2004 and 2005, and the program's first state championship in 2005.
Morrow then attended the University of Notre Dame, garnering Big East Academic All-Star honors his sophomore and junior years and serving as captain his senior season. Upon the end of his collegiate career, Morrow realized a dream of playing professionally in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Morrow played for four seasons for the San Jose Earthquakes from 2010-13, playing in 71 games. Then on December 13, 2013, Morrow became a member of Toronto FC after San Jose sent him north of the border in a trade.
Morrow quickly became a mainstay at left back for Toronto, starting in 30 games and playing over 2,600 minutes in each season from 2014-16. In 2016, Morrow helped the club reach the MLS Cup with his wonderful play on the pitch.
However, Toronto FC fell just short to the Seattle Sounders in a devastating shootout loss. Morrow took the loss particularly hard, as his shot deflected off the underside of the crossbar and out, before Seattle won the game on the next shot.
This season, Morrow and Toronto FC would not suffer the same fate.
After dominating the first 66 minutes of play, Toronto broke through in the 67th minute on a wonderful goal by Jozy Altidore. Morrow and his teammates saw Seattle notch some close chances, but an insurance tally in extra time by Toronto FC sealed the contest.
The victory is sweet for Morrow, as this is the culmination of years and years of blood, sweat, and tears on the pitch, especially after such a difficult end to last season.
Morrow becomes the first Saint Ignatius alumni to win an MLS Cup. Several Saint Ignatius soccer coaches were in attendance in Toronto, including Dan Crew, Mark Blades, and Johnny Rowell.
Morrow's talented head coach at Saint Ignatius, Mike McLaughlin '85, watched the game remotely, and couldn't be more proud of Morrow.
"It's wonderful when great things happen to great people," McLaughlin said. "Justin has worked really hard and is part of what they are saying is now the greatest MLS team in the history of the league. So proud of Justin."