MLS establishes a DEI committee to deal with discrimination based on youth football
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday the formation of a committee to deal with racist and discriminatory obstacles that exist at the level of youth football in the United States.
The Equity Action Committee will work on MLS NEXT, the youth development initiative that was launched last spring after the US Soccer Development Academy was closed. Composed of 489 teams affiliated with 113 clubs within the MLS and the lower divisions of the U.S. football pyramid, MLS NEXT hosts competitions for over 11,000 players ages 13 and under.
Systemic discrimination and racism have long plagued the youth of football in the United States, from a lack of diversity in coaching and administrative positions to a lack of access to elite minority travel teams. MLS NEXT has outlined several growth areas for the Equity Action Committee to support, including increased representation in positions of influence, improved opportunities for various coaches, policy review and implementation, and educational seminars.
“We are committed to making lasting changes to youth football and continuing to build a platform that will not tolerate racism or other discriminatory languages or behavior in any context.” MLS NEXT Technical Director Fred Lipka said in a statement. “MLS NEXT will reach tens of thousands of young athletes at a critical time in their lives. Educating all attendees about the value of diversity from the moment they step onto our platform is a top priority as we continue to build the sport for a new North America. ”
The Equity Action Committee has nine members, including six MLS NEXT coaches and directors, two representatives from the Girls Academy, a female youth initiative, and Toronto FC’s Justin Morrow, who was a founding member of the MLS Black Players Coalition last summer and serves as its executive director .
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