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CJ Sapong named board member of new Black Players Coalition of MLS

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Micheal Azira, Johan Kappelhof, and Andre Reynolds II are also members

Micheal Azira and CJ Sapong of the Chicago Fire
Abel Arciniega

More than 70 Black players in MLS have come together to form a group called the Black Players Coalition of MLS, and all four of Chicago Fire FC’s Black players are involved. CJ Sapong will serve as a board member, while Johan Kappelhof, Micheal Azira, and Andre Reynolds II are all members.

The group was announced today to coincide with the celebration of Juneteenth.

“We pledge to help bridge the racial equality gap that exists in our league by lobbying for initiatives like implicit bias training, cultural education courses, and diversification hiring practices,” the group announced in a statement.

In the 25 year history of MLS, the league has never had an American-born Black head coach. There have been a handful of foreign-born Black coaches, like Thierry Henry of the Montreal Impact, but never an American in America’s domestic league.

That’s just one problem the new group will hopefully be able to address.

If you’d like to learn more about the group, give the Black Players Coalition a follow on Twitter: @BPCMLS.

Keeping the promise, so far

When the Fire put out a statement after the killing of George Floyd, the club pledged to actually do things to combat racism. The Fire took the first step toward keeping that pledge, putting out a handy guide for people looking to support Black-owned businesses and organizations.

19 days to Orlando

Finally, with less than three weeks until the MLS is Back tournament kicks off in Orlando, the Fire announced midfielder Jeremiah Gutjahr tore the medial meniscus in his right knee this week, and underwent successful surgery. He’s expected to miss four months.

Media still can’t attend practice because of MLS rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, so the Fire’s media staff released videos of interviews with Jonathan Bornstein and Francisco Calvo talking about the first week of full team training.

“To be honest, the trainings have been very intense and very productive,” Bornstein said.

Take a look at the rest of what they had to say:

The Fire will play Inter Miami, Nashville and NYCFC, but we’re still waiting on a schedule and broadcast details for the tournament, which begins July 8.