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.
There will be change. ✊ #MLSisBlack pic.twitter.com/nr31iijOKf— CJ Sapong (@BigAfrika88) June 19, 2020
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.
Keep supporting. Keep educating. Keep listening. #BlackLivesMatter— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) June 18, 2020
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:
And here's Jonathan Bornstein after training today. "To be honest, the trainings have been very intense and very productive."#cffc #cf97 pic.twitter.com/ppdqzNVrm1— Patrick McCraney (@patrickmccraney) June 18, 2020
Here's El Capitan Francisco Calvo talking about comparisons between the World Cup format, and the #MLSisBack tournament. #cffc #cf97 pic.twitter.com/DI9zysJQbd— Patrick McCraney (@patrickmccraney) June 18, 2020
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.