In just his third season as an MLS head coach, Wilfried Nancy has already made history by being the first black coach to win the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup presented by Audi.
By a score of 2-1, his team, the Columbus Crew, defeated the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), the reigning champions. Nancy said during a postgame news conference, “I’m so proud of that because there is a lot of work behind that. But I’m not happy at the same time because this is not normal. Simple as that. So, I’m proud to represent, yes, to be the only Black. But I’m not happy with that. So, this is something that has to change.”
“I know that MLS tries to do that, but this is not only in MLS,” he added, according to the Washington Informer.
The French-born coach played professionally for ten years. Serving as a defender from 1995 to 2005, he played for the French clubs Sporting Club Toulon, Beaucairois, Raon-l’Etape, Ivry, Noisy-le-Sec, Chatellerault, and Orleans.
Nancy became the Crew’s head coach in 2022, and he swiftly employed his forceful and forward-thinking style to lead the Crew.
According to Major League Soccer, Nancy rose to prominence as CF Montréal’s head coach from 2021–22, having previously served in the junior divisions and as a first-team assistant.
Last December, the Columbus Crew paid the Canadian club to acquire Nancy’s services, and he promptly applied his bold, front-foot style, leading the Crew to their third MLS Cup.
Of all the main men’s professional leagues in North America, Major League Soccer boasts the most geographically varied and youthful player pool, with players from 81 nations on six continents represented on 2023 rosters.