Major League Soccer Announces Steps to Combat Racism and Increase Black Representation

Major League Soccer today unveiled a series of initiatives to  combat racism, advocate for social justice and increase representation in the sport. The new  programs, which include the formation of a Diversity Committee consisting of members of the  

MLS Board of Governors, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, representatives of the Black Players  For Change (BPC), and other members of the soccer community, are the result of several  months of discussions with key stakeholders across the league, including a recent meeting  between the MLS Board and the BPC. 

“Major League Soccer is committed to utilizing our wide-ranging platforms to create meaningful  programs to address racism and social injustice in society and in the sport of soccer,” said MLS  Commissioner Don Garber. “Importantly, alongside key stakeholders, including MLS owners,  Black Players For Change, former players, Black members of our technical staff and other  employees, we have created a series of initiatives to close the representation gap across soccer  in the U.S. and Canada.” 

The MLS league office, along with the MLS Board of Governors and member clubs, have  committed to the following initiatives: 

  • MLS Diversity Committee – The creation of this group, which will be part of the formal MLS committee structure, will include MLS owners, BPC leadership, club executives, head coaches, academy coaches, former MLS players and members of Pitch Black, a  resource group of Black employees from MLS’ league office. Among the committee’s  goals will be to work with the league to develop a strategy toward diversity, inclusion, 

opportunity and social justice, including supporting and championing the proposed  initiatives. 

  • Civic Engagement Initiative – MLS will use league resources to address issues of public concern among marginalized communities. Areas of focus will include the recently created MLS Unites to Vote initiative, along with turnkey programs that encourage  community participation in civic activities. 
  • Soccer Upward Mobility Initiative – MLS will provide access, exposure, and clearly defined career paths that develop talent from underrepresented groups. This initiative will include developing pathways of entrance and advancement for emerging and current  talent, in addition to creating policies and an educational ecosystem to increase Black  representation in executive and sporting positions at the league office, the member clubs  and other North American soccer organizations. 
  • Youth and Grassroots Community Initiative – MLS will use league resources to close the representation gap across the broad spectrum of the sport in North America with the goal of increasing participation and opportunity for members of underserved  communities. This initiative will include collaborating with MLS NEXT to increase  representation among players, coaches and referees.  
  • Supplier Diversity Program – MLS is building a Supplier Diversity Program to provide meaningful opportunities and economic inclusion to minority-owned businesses. This will include spending around MLS major events, hiring of agencies, and the selection of  vendors, among many areas of league and club business. 
  • Partnerships with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and 100 Black Men of America – MLS has formed partnerships with 100 Black Men of America and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. In addition to a financial commitment, MLS will collaborate with both organizations to develop long-term programming centered around  mentorship, workplace development, social justice, health and wellness, and financial  literacy. 

In addition to these initiatives, MLS owners have contributed $1 million to Black Players For  Change to aid in the growth of the organization in the coming years.


About Major League Soccer 

Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer – celebrating its 25th Season in 2020  – features 26 clubs throughout the United States and Canada, in addition to future expansion  teams in Austin, St. Louis, Sacramento, and Charlotte. For more information about MLS,  visit www.MLSsoccer.com

 

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