FRISCO, Texas – In honor of Black History Month, we proudly celebrate the diversity of our team and our fans.
Midfielder Jacori Hayes, who grew up in the diverse suburbs of Washington, D.C., shared his thoughts on the importance of Black History Month, who his role models were growing up and what he thinks of being perceived as a role model to others.
Photo courtesy of Hayes Family. Left to Right: Sister, Camryn Hayes. Jacori Hayes. Brother, Braxton Hayes. Mother, Valerie Hayes. Father, Reggie Hayes. Sister, Camber Hayes.
"I’m very proud to be African American," said Hayes, who takes pride in achievements throughout history, despite various obstacles faced by African Americans, and overcoming adversity. "We rose above it and produced great things for this country."
Hayes was selected by FC Dallas with the 18th pick of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. And before being drafted by FC Dallas, Hayes appeared in 81 matches for Wake Forest University's Demon Deacons and graduated with a degree in physics. His degree is in science is no surprise considering who his role models were growing up.
Photo courtesy of Hayes Family. Photo of Hayes and his parents, Valerie and Reggie Hayes and younger brother, Braxton.
“My mom and dad, they have been unbelievably supportive of me. Both of them being engineers and what they’ve had to overcome pursuing their engineering degrees, influenced my love for math and science. My mom has an undergraduate electrical engineering degree and went on to law school. My father has a master’s in mechanical engineering. I look up to them. And seeing that they can do it at the highest of level is something I strive to accomplish myself.”
Jacori Hayes is only 23 years old and had a breakout season in 2018. And as a professional athlete, he knows that others might look up to him as a role model and hopes to be setting a good example.
Photo: USA Today Sports Images/ © Matthew Emmons
“I just want to show that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want." But Hayes stressed that succeeding in a sport doesn't mean compromising an academic career.
"You don’t have to sacrifice your academics to pursue an athletic career. Go get your college degree, or whatever else afterwards, but you can be multifaceted and pursue multiple avenues of success, not just limit yourself to just athletics or just academics or just the arts. You can do multiple things and be successful at all of them.”