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leagues to earn a B for gender.

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    February 8, 2018 10:58 PM PST

    The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released the 2016 Major League Soccer Racial and Gender Report Card today. Giants Hoodies Shop . The MLS earned an overall grade of 84.7 points, a B+ and an increase from the 2015 report card. This grade is a result of a B+ in racial hiring practices and a B in gender hiring practices. I, along with my co-author Erin Davison, commend Major League Soccer for the improvement in inclusion and for being one of only two mens professional leagues to earn a B for gender.That being said, I also believe the MLS is in a unique time and place in American sports. As a country, it seems we are finally getting behind soccer. In addition to various expansion teams, internationally famous players such as David Villa, Kaka, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have brought heightened attention and prestige to the league. Ive dedicated my life to fighting for those without a voice through the power of sport, and I believe theres an opportunity to set a standard for inclusion.This summer I witnessed one MLS teams commitment to inclusion and the power of sport. On the morning of June 12, my wife, Ann, and I wondered how Orlando would ever be the same after the news broke that a man pledging allegiance to ISIS killed 49 at the Pulse nightclub. But, as the citys sports teams plans to honor and support the victims became clear, so, too, did the path ahead.I will never forget the atmosphere inside Camping World Stadium as Orlando City SC hosted the San Jose Earthquakes the first Saturday after the tragedy. The entire game was a moving tribute to the victims. Forty-nine empty seats were marked with rainbow balloons, the game paused for a moment of silence during the 49th minute of play, first responders were honored on the field and a gay mens choir sang the national anthem. The fans matched the support by organizing on Facebook to paint the bowl rainbow. Fans in each section wore the same color shirt, and the next section wore a different color and the stadium looked like a rainbow flag. The crowd sang along with John Lennons Imagine in the stands. In the wake of horrific tragedy and demonstration of hate, Orlando City SC used the power of sport to spread love.I was proud that former DeVos Sport Business Management students helped plan that inspiring night for Orlando City SC. At DeVos, we not only understand the power of sport, but also understand the importance in having diversity in our league front offices. In the 2016 MLS report, the league office continued to be the standard for the entire league with people of color making up 36.4 percent of all professional positions, and women holding 37 percent of these positions. At the team level, people of color held 14.7 percent of all senior administration positions, and women held 25 percent of such positions. It is noted that this is the first time in six years there was an increase of women in team senior administration positions. It was also the first time in six years there was an increase of people of color in team professional administration positions, now at 17.6 percent.People of color holding head-coaching positions increased from 10 percent to 20 percent. Latinos lead the Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, New York City FC and FC Dallas. Meanwhile, people of color hold 13.6 percent of assistant-coaching positions. That is the worst in professional sport.Major League Soccer teams are also the worst in professional sport for hiring people of color to vice-president positions. Currently, only 4 percent of team vice presidents are people of color, and 16.2 percent are women. In addition, there is only one president/CEO of color.For many years in America, football, basketball and baseball have dominated. But everywhere else in the world, soccer is king. Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World, said: Soccer isnt the same as Bach or Buddhism. But it is often more deeply felt than religion, and just as much a part of the communitys fabric, a repository of traditions. According to FIFA.com, approximately 3.2 billion people watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. There is an estimated 3.5 billion soccer fans globally, nearly half the worlds population.Despite the fact that children of every color, language and religion can be found playing soccer in the streets of any corner of the globe, discrimination is still prevalent in the sport. I have previously written about the prevalence of racism in international sporting events, especially soccer. In 2016 alone, two major top-tier games in Spain and Italy were suspended briefly because of racist chants. For the past few years, numerous games have been played in empty stadiums as a result of racist chants by fans. The FARE Network reported 92 incidents of discrimination by Russian soccer fans during the 2014-2015 season.2016 also saw the emergence of the U.S. Womens National Team wage discrimination dispute with U.S. Soccer. The United States Senate called upon U.S. Soccer to immediately end gender pay inequity and to treat all athletes with the respect and dignity those athletes deserve. Meanwhile, women in Afghanistan not only suffer discrimination but also live in danger for playing soccer. Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Kobe Bryant and many others showed support on social media for the Afghanistan Womens National Team. Yet, it is evident that sexism still exists in soccer around the globe.The 2016 Racial and Gender Report Card found that 43.3 percent of players in Major League Soccer are now international. This percentage has grown steadily over the years from 20.6 percent in 2006, which was the first year TIDES collected data on international players. This growth has been reinforced by the MLS designated player rule, allowing teams a better chance to penetrate the international market. It has also been paralleled by a growth in the percentage of people of color playing in Major League Soccer (38.7 percent in 2006 vs. 52.5 percent in 2016).Last Saturdays MLS Cup sold out in three minutes from the time the tickets went on sale. Seattle and Toronto played in front of a packed and intense crowd despite the freezing temperature. Watching Toronto fans passionately sing along with the Canadian anthem reminded me of Orlando City SC fans equally passionately chanting Vamos Orlando! The global popularity of soccer and MLS fans demonstration of multiculturalism go hand in hand.There can be no argument that soccer is the most loved sport worldwide. And it is clear MLS is beginning to solidify its place among the better soccer leagues of the world. Therefore, now more than ever is the time that MLS team and league offices must be more representative of the world. Major League Soccer has the chance to set the standard for the world. It can show that there is no room for racism or sexism in soccer. Displays such as the one I witnessed by Orlando City SC prove the MLS cares about diversity, inclusion, the community and the healing power of sport. I hope to see this sentiment reflected with more women and people of color given a leadership voice in front offices, as coaches, and as owners, vice presidents and presidents.Richard E. Lapchick is the chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program in the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida. Lapchick also directs UCFs Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, is the author of 16 books and the annual Racial and Gender Report Card, and is the president of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport. He has been a regular commentator for ESPN.com on issues of diversity in sport. Follow him on Twitter @richardlapchick and on Facebook. Erin Davison was Lapchicks graduate assistant and is now research manager for the Intel Team at Turnkey Sports and Entertainment. Cheap Giants Hoodies Store . "Theyve both been real good," said Babcock. "Havent changed our minds." A decision has seemingly been made - Sundays Group B-deciding tilt against Finland ahead - but it could not have been an easy one. 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