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.
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.”
Omar Salgado talks about how it feels to have fans back inside Southwest University Park in this week's Mic'd Up presented by @EstrellaJalisco— El Paso Locomotive FC (@eplocomotivefc) September 3, 2020
Join us at home this Saturday as we take on our Group C rival New Mexico United presented by @lnfdistributors pic.twitter.com/LiCOUbjuWX
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