New Mexico United’s Non-Profit Organization Creates Pathway for Women & People of Color in the Professional Soccer Industry
(June 19, 2020) ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, the Somos Unidos Foundation and New Mexico United announced a brand new fellowship program, with the goal of increasing the amount of diversity within the professional soccer industry.
Currently, between the top three men’s soccer leagues in the United States, (MLS, USL and USL League One), out of 73 teams only 17 coaches and 6 presidents are people of color. There are no female head coaches in any of these leagues. In the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), only 22% of head coaches and team presidents are women, and of their nine teams, only one coach and one president are people of color.
The foundation plans to address two driving factors of this disparity: access and financial barriers. Through the 6 month intensive program, candidates will work directly with either the coaching staff or front office staff, learning the ins and outs of a professional soccer team. At the conclusion of their fellowship, each candidate will then receive scholarships to continue their education or subsidize their US Soccer coaching license. These licenses can cost thousands of dollars.
“This program is about creating real change in our community. Having a conversation and listening are starting points, but tangible action must immediately follow. The amount of women & people of color involved in leadership roles in our sport are staggeringly low and this initiative is a starting point to generate more opportunities,” said Head Coach Troy Lesesne. “Our hope is that every professional club provides a similar program for their community.”
Applications will be accepted for this program at the beginning of August.
For more information about the Diversity Fellowship Program, please click here.
About The Somos Unidos Foundation
The Somos Unidos Foundation is a 501(c)3 dedicated to creating positive outcomes for New Mexicans through art, sport, community, and unity. We believe that New Mexico belongs at the top of the positive lists, and the bottom of the negative ones. The success of movements like New Mexico United and Meow Wolf proves that our greatest resources are creativity, and community. Our mission is to create positive outcomes for every New Mexican. We aim to do so through community collaborations, programs that unify our state and by affording equal opportunities to every New Mexican.
About New Mexico United
New Mexico United, the state’s first professional soccer franchise, brings the most popular sport in the world home to the Land of Enchantment. Fueled by a passion for community, New Mexico United’s promise is to provide a platform that brings New Mexicans together for a unique sporting experience, celebrating the unity and excitement inherent in world-class soccer.
The USL is one of the most successful professional soccer leagues in the world, reaching a population of more than 84 million and fueling the growth of the game across North America. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, the USL provides unparalleled club support with a growing team of more than 50 professionals across 17 departments, ranging from operations to marketing, communications, and sponsorship. The USL has a national media partnership with ESPN, wherein all league matches are broadcast on ESPN+, ESPN3 and across linear channels. The league also operates USL Productions, which includes a state-of-the-art facility that produces and distributes more than 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates and international markets throughout the 2018 season.