Major League Soccer will be conducting several programs throughout February to celebrate Black History Month, highlighting voices of the Black community, continuing conversations about systemic racism and injustices and providing educational resources and programming, the league announced Monday.
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.
Soccer for All Speaker Series
The first edition of the Soccer for All Speaker Series, featuring Black executives who have ascended as leaders within the sport will launch this month. 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 MLS.
The Soccer for All Speaker Series will continue throughout 2021, amplifying 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.
Black History Month Challenge
MLS is also teaming up with EVERFI, the leading social impact education innovator, to kick off a league-wide Black History Month Challenge, which 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 with the goal of inspiring enduring conversations about race and equality among young people.
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.
Collaboration with National Coalition of 100 Black Women
In September, MLS announced a partnership with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. In addition to a financial commitment, MLS will collaborate with NCBW to develop long-term programming with a focus on workforce and leadership development and health and wellness initiatives.
NCBW and MLS will also 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 capture the spirit of Black History Month, celebrate Black trailblazers, and highlights stories and events that have made an impact on soccer with a special slate of content across all league platforms. Pitch Black is also spearheading a variety of internal educational programming, presentations, and engaging content for league office staff.
The initiatives build on the league’s long-term commitment to build a more just and inclusive society and follow the previously announced formation of the MLS Diversity Committee. Meetings started late last year and the group continues to develop ways to increase Black representation within the soccer community.