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Taylor Twellman talks diversity in MLS

Major League Soccer recently updated its Diversity Hiring Policy

MLS recently announced changes to its Diversity Hiring Policy ahead of the 2022 season.

Some of the updates include that the finalist pool for an open sporting position must include two or more non-white candidates, one of whom must be Black or African American. Clubs must also show an equal interview process and comparable interview experience for all candidates in the finalist pool. The new policy also adds to the previous definition of “underrepresented groups” to specify that this term includes Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino(a), American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, Canadian Indigenous, Canadian First Nations, Women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

If clubs fail to abide by the updated Diversity Hiring Policy, they can be fined up to $50,000 for first offenses, up to $100,000 for second offenses, and more than $100,000 (pursuant to the Commissioner’s discretion) for third offenses and beyond. Clubs must also submit all details of vacant sporting positions and information about all candidates in the final candidate pool to a new Diversity Policy Portal (DPP).

Taylor Twellman told The Bent Musket on Tuesday that the league needs to be inclusive but not exclusive.

“People will have their opinions about diversity,” he said. “Listen, it has to happen. We need more diverse thinkers. We need more diverse people within the realm of sports and especially soccer. When you look at soccer and the way it is in the United States, it’s got to be a little bit more diverse, and that starts all the way with youth soccer all the way up to Major League Soccer. So I think the initiative is the right one. I think you are going to see it evolve and I also think you are going to be surprised that it’s actually going to make the league better because you are getting different thinkers coming into a group of people that haven’t had that over the last 10 years and they are now starting to get that which comes with growth.”

New England Revolution goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. talked about the impact of representation when it comes to members of the coaching staff.

“I’ve been really fortunate to have two Black goalkeeper coaches, probably two of the only Black goalkeeper coaches to come through the league,” Edwards told mlssoccer.com. “The feeling I got working with them is unique because when you’re working with people that look like you, that have similar experiences, similar backgrounds it’s empowering for players as well. 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 and it encourages youth players to want to partake in the sport and maybe one day be a coach.”

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