After nearly 15 years, Major League Soccer will be implementing a new Diversity Hiring Policy, opening doors for individuals in historically marginalized groups within the league.
Prior to the announced changes, clubs were only required to interview one diverse candidate for an open position. Now, the finalist pool must include at least two or more non-white candidates, at least one of which being Black or African-American.
“I feel like where the policy is today, it forces people to really take a look and a listen to the candidates who come in,” Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said.
“No one wants a handout, no one wants anything more so than anyone else. We just want an opportunity is all it is. The change in this policy allows for more serious opportunities for Black candidates.”
The rules apply not just to senior MLS clubs, but also to the MLS NEXT Pro lower league and MLS NEXT academies. Fines for teams who fail to meet the new policy include a $50,000 ticket for first offenses, up to $100,000 for second offenses and more than $100,000 for third and further cases.
“For us to get a little bit of that representation, to see ourselves in those positions of power, it does a lot for an athlete,” New England Revolution goalkeeper and board member of Black Players for Change (BPC) Earl Edwards Jr. said. “And it encourages youth players to want to partake in the sport and maybe one day be a coach.”
While change in diversity in MLS might not be immediate, the long-term effects could make could open opportunities down the line for more diverse leadership across the league.
“You will see an immediate effect in the league, but I think the real effect will be in the years to come,” Fraser said. “All these opportunities are now being created for people, even at the academy level, the assistant coach level. Once they get those jobs, it’ll only help prepare them for head coaching jobs.