NEW YORK, N.Y. (Monday, Feb. 1, 2021) – Major League Soccer announced today several programs that will be conducted throughout the month of February to celebrate Black History Month. MLS will highlight voices of the Black community, continue conversations about systemic racism and injustices, and provide educational resources and programming.
Activations throughout the month will emphasize the League’s continued efforts to foster more inclusive and equitable communities, drive positive social change and end discrimination.
The first edition of the Soccer For All Speaker Series will launch in February, featuring Black executives who have ascended as leaders within the sport. Black Leaders in Soccer presented by MLS WORKS and Pitch Black, the League’s Black employee resource group, will discuss how to navigate change and create pathways to increase Black representation throughout the League. The Soccer For All Speaker Series will continue throughout 2021, highlighting voices from underrepresented groups. The series will feature a cross-section of leaders who will discuss topics relevant to various commemorative awareness months, including Women’s History Month, LGBTQ Pride Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month.
MLS is also teaming up with EVERFI, the leading social impact education innovator, to kick off a leaguewide Black History Month Challenge. The Black History Month Challenge provides middle and high school students a digital course on Black history, addressing racial injustice and economic inequality while celebrating important moments and facts about Black history that will inspire enduring conversations about race and allyship among young people today. Students who complete the course and submit an essay are entered into a contest for the chance to win prizes valued up to $20,000, including a $10,000 college scholarship. Students must be age 13 and older to participate in the essay contest.
In September 2020, MLS announced a partnership with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW). In addition to a financial commitment, MLS will collaborate with NCBW to develop long-term programming; focus areas will include workforce and leadership development and health and wellness initiatives. In celebration of Black History Month and as one of the first manifestations of the partnership, NCBW and MLS will host a virtual seminar in February for NCBW members and mentees to talk about the sport of soccer and the ways the game can serve as a vehicle to reach higher education and career opportunities. The virtual event will feature former men and women soccer players and showcase potential career paths within the soccer industry.
MLS will also feature a special slate of content across all League platforms that captures the spirit of Black History Month, celebrates Black trailblazers, and highlights stories and events that have made an impact on soccer. Pitch Black is also spearheading a variety of internal educational programing, presentations, and engaging content for League office staff.
The above initiatives build on the League’s long-term commitment to use its platform in the soccer community to build a more just and inclusive society. The programs follow the League’s previously announced formation of its Diversity Committee. In late 2020, the Diversity Committee meetings commenced, and the group continues to develop ways to increase Black representation within the soccer community, among other initiatives.
For more information on how MLS is celebrating Black History Month, visit MLSsoccer.com.