Currently, between the top three men’s soccer leagues in the United States, (MLS, USL and USL League One), out of 73 teams only 17 coaches and 6 presidents are people of color. There are no female head coaches in any of these leagues. In the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), only 22% of head coaches and team presidents are women, and of their nine teams, only one coach and one president are people of color.
The foundation plans to address two driving factors of this disparity: access and financial barriers. Through the 6 month intensive program, candidates will work directly with either the coaching staff or front office staff, learning the ins and outs of a professional soccer team. At the conclusion of their fellowship, each candidate will then receive scholarships to continue their education or subsidize their US Soccer coaching license. These licenses can cost thousands of dollars.
“This program is about creating real change in our community. Having a conversation and
listening are starting points, but tangible action must immediately follow. The amount of women & people of color involved in leadership roles in our sport are staggeringly low and this initiative is a
starting point to generate more opportunities,” said Head Coach Troy Lesesne. “Our hope is that every professional club provides a similar program for their community.”
Applications will be accepted for this program at the beginning of August.
For more information about the Diversity Fellowship Program, please click here.