Philadelphia Union forward Cory Burke has had an impressive first season in Major League Soccer. The 26-year-old Jamaican International scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season this past Saturday night in the 1-0 win over New England Revolution to propel his club further up the Eastern Conference table.
In the match, Burke’s lone goal came from pure determination as the assistant referee raised his flag to indicate that Burke was in an offside position. Staying true to his roots, Burke continued to play on as there was no whistle on the play.
Burke continued on to find the back of the net. After video review, it was determined that Burke was onside and the goal was awarded to Philadelphia. In his celebration, Burke removed his jersey to reveal a message on his undershirt that said “RIP Miss Ann Marie Hanland."
Burke explained the meaning behind his undershirt.
“My teammate who I used to play with in school, we grew up in the same community in Jamaica. His mom passed away. She was like my second mom,” Burke said. “Saturday was her funeral, so I chose to wear that shirt underneath to show my support because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go to the funeral so I chose that moment for her.”
The celebration was planned out by Burke, who knew that in order to show his full support, he’d have to find the back of the net for a seventh time in 2018.
“I woke up in the morning and I remembered it was her funeral that day so I sent Brandon (Comisky, Union Equipment Manager) a message to have the shirt made for me,” Burke said. “I was hoping and praying to score a goal, so I could take off my shirt and show it.”
For Burke, his season has been one to remember and will go down as one of the best in Union history. His game-winning goal this past weekend tied Jack McInerney (five) for the most game-winning goals in a season in Union franchise history. The Union are now 7-0-0 when Burke starts a match in MLS regular season action.
The records and accolades are nice, but for Burke, the moment on Saturday to show appreciation for his loved ones back home was one he’ll remember forever.
“It meant a lot, a great lady passed on and to score a goal on the day her family saw her face for the last time, it meant a lot to me to score a goal for her,” Burke said. “I know the people back home appreciated the love I showed for her."