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THE MORNING TEA – Peabo Doue Discusses Aims for Black Players Alliance

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 09/04/20, 7:30AM EDT

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Pittsburgh hit by long-term absence of Forbes; Road success can’t mask New Mexico’s mental wear

The Championship’s weekend kicks off tonight with a doubleheader on ESPN+, including a key game in the Midwest. First up today, though, we go inside the long-planned and recently unveiled USL Black Players Alliance with one of its founding members. Here’s your Morning Tea for Friday.

 

THE BIG STORY

For Loudoun United FC captain Peabo Doue, the idea of an organization that would act as representation for Black players in lower division soccer was not a new one.

“Hugh [Roberts] and I, we grew up together and this is something that we’ve always talked about behind the scenes, chatted at in road talk, but never really took any action,” Doue told SiriusXM FC’s Jason Davis on the United States of Soccer on Thursday.

Recent national events, and the reactions to those with the formation of Black Players for Change by players in Major League Soccer, quickly accelerated the ideas that had been talked about for a long time by Doue, Roberts and others including Roberts’ Charlotte Independence teammate Brandon Miller and Louisville City FC veteran George Davis IV.

Last week, the USL Black Players Coalition was officially unveiled, and took a leading role in the ideation of the in-game moments of unity against racism, and in support of equality, diversity and compassion that were seen in the Championship and League One over the past week. While two games were postponed at the decision of the players at Memphis 901 FC in the Championship and Forward Madison FC in League One – both with the full support of North Carolina FC, North Texas SC, and the leagues themselves, respectively – the moments seen at venues across the country resonated as intended.

“We wanted to give the freedom to individual locker rooms within each club and allow them to come together and discuss it as a group with their clubs, and then make that decision on whatever they felt most comfortable with,” said Doue on the decision-making process. “As we’re all together here in the USL we try to push for unity and have one voice, and it was kind of a situation where we all wanted to have the same impact and the same message.”

While this past week saw the USL BPC’s launch, Doue and his fellow players are now focused on what they can do to carry the momentum of the launch forward, and what steps it can take to created greater representation for Black men and women in all facets of the sport.

“Whether that’s on the field for players, on the sidelines for coaches, or whether it’s in the front office at the GM level or even going into the owner level, that’s our goal,” said Doue. “We want to have more qualified Black men and women in those positions.”

Finding a way to work with clubs to reduce that inequality is going to be a key step forward, and Doue had praise for an initiative established in June by New Mexico United, which saw the club establish six-month Diversity Fellowships that will embed candidates with the clubs coaching staff and front office. At the conclusion of each fellowship, each candidate will receive scholarships to continue their education, or to subsidize fees to earn a U.S. Soccer Coaching License.

“We want to create programs within different markets,” said Doue. “The initiative [New Mexico has] put in place, I think that’s a perfect example of what we want to see more of around the league, more clubs following that lead and following that action.”

 

TONIGHT'S ACTION

Saint Louis FC vs. Sporting Kansas City II

(4-3-3)
Group E

8:00 p.m. ET |
Venue: West Community Stadium

FiveThirtyEight.com Predictor: STL Wins 58% | Draw 24% | SKC Wins 18%
(4-5-1)
Group E
The Gist: Saint Louis FC has the chance to move into second place in Group E ahead of Saturday’s meeting between Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC as it plays host to a Sporting KC II side that is on a positive run that has kept its playoff hopes alive. SKC II has won back-to-back games to remain in touch with the rest of the group, defeating OKC Energy FC at home and FC Tulsa on the road in the past two weekends. Providing the attacking edge in those victories has been Wilson Harris, whose goal against Tulsa last week was not only the game-winner but also marked the 20-year-old’s 20th in the Championship regular season, making him the youngest player in league history to reach that mark. Harris will look to add to his scoring streak against STLFC, which is coming off a 1-1 draw with Louisville last Saturday night that extended its undefeated streak to three games. Having won 3-1 at home the last time these teams met on August 15, STLFC will be hoping for a similar performance this time around.
Discipline: None

Real Monarchs SLC vs. Tacoma Defiance

(1-6-1)
Group C

10:00 p.m. ET |
Venue: Zions Bank Stadium

FiveThirtyEight.com Predictor: SLC Wins 51% | Draw 23% | TAC Wins 26%
(2-5-1)
Group A
The Gist: Real Monarchs SLC will try to keep their postseason hopes alive when they face Tacoma Defiance looking to break a four-game losing streak. The defending Championship title-holder is currently at the bottom of Group C and sits 11 points behind El Paso Locomotive FC as it starts the second half of the season. Real’s downward spiral has come at the hands of Locomotive FC and group leader New Mexico United, each of which have taken two wins apiece against the Monarchs. The Monarchs may be hopeful of taking victory against the Defiance, though, with Tacoma having also suffered three consecutive defeats of its own to slide out of the playoff race in Group A. The Defiance have conceded eight goals across those three games, offering Real a chance to get its attack back on track as it looks to avoid becoming the first defending title-holder to miss the following season’s playoffs.
Discipline: None
 

THE SOCIAL CIRCLE

 

THE USL LOWDOWN

- Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC could potentially be without Kenardo Forbes for the remainder of the regular season, Head Coach Bob Lilley told media on Thursday, after the Jamaican was ruled out for 4-to-8 weeks with an upper leg injury. Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s Matt Gajtka has more on Forbes’ status, and what it means for the Hounds moving forward.

- New Mexico United have been outstanding on the road all season to move into first place in Group C, but the grind of travel is starting to wear on the side mentally as it prepares to face El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday night. “I’ll tell you what’s not comfortable,” NMU Head Coach Troy Lesesne told reporters on Wednesday. “Getting on a bus again, staying at the Embassy Suites again, playing on the road again for the 10th time. Those things are not comfortable.”

- With the four teams within six points of each other in Group E, Louisville City FC Head Coach John Hackworth is looking at the matchups between Saint Louis FC and Sporting Kansas City II on Friday night, and LouCity’s visit to Indy Eleven like early playoff games. “One of us, and it might not just be us and Indy, it could be St. Louis or Sporting K.C., has to start separating from each other,” Hackworth told WDRB.com’s Aaron Matas.

- Hackworth's sentiment is shared by his counterpart at Saint Louis FC, Steve Trittschuh, whose side can put both LouCity and Indy under pressure if it can take victory against Sporting Kansas City II on Friday night at West Community Stadium. “As tight as things are, we can’t afford a loss or even a tie,” Trittschuh told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Lyons. “It doesn’t matter if we have to change players or change tactics in the middle of the game, we have to do whatever it takes to win the game. We need to get the three points.”

- Reno 1868 FC’s Tucker Bone has started to find his stride with his new club in recent weeks, playing a key part in 1868 FC’s rise to the top of Group A. The young attacker spoke with Nevada Sports Net to share what life has been like since moving to the Biggest Little City and joining Reno 1868.

- The Tampa Bay Rowdies supporter’s community lost one of its longest-standing members recently when Dieter Karnstadt – who first became a season-ticket holder in 1976 – passed away after complications from a car accident. Bay News 9’s Adria Iraheta spoke with his widow, Mary, about their lives as Rowdies fans, and the support the club has provided in recent weeks.

 

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