On Juneteenth, more than 70 Black Major League Soccer players joined together to announce the formation of the Black Players Coalition of MLS. A certified nonprofit organization, the Black Players Coalition of MLS has been recognized by MLS and have received a $75,000 charitable contribution from the MLS Players Association.
In a statement, the organization detailed a three-pronged plan for the group. The Coalition is looking to “address the racial inequalities in our league, stand with all those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the United States and Canada.”
— Black Players Coalition of MLS (@BPCMLS) June 19, 2020
To do this, the Coalition is looking to implement “implicit bias training, cultural education courses, and diversification hiring practices.” They are also looking to increase “targeted spending, educational advancement initiatives, and mentorship programs” within Black communities. With over 70 members, the Coalition’s board consists of 11 players including Quincy Amarikwa, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Kei Kamara, and Justin Morrow.
MLS has received high marks and praise for its diversity efforts and racial hiring practices, but the league isn’t alone with the rest of the soccer world (and the country as a whole) when it comes to a lack of diversity in top administrative positions, particularly a lack of Black head coaches. Soccer legends like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira are leading/have led MLS teams but there have been very few Black head coaches of MLS teams, and even fewer from the United States or Canada. Robin Fraser of the Colorado Rapids is just the second African American head coach in MLS’ 25 year history.
This is where the Black Players Coalition of MLS comes in. While MLS might be diverse in some areas, there is room for improvement in other areas. Since it seems MLS is willing to listen and work with the Coalition, there’s hope for a better future within MLS.