Major League Soccer Statement

NEW YORK (October 31, 2022) – Major League Soccer has concluded its review of D.C. United’s recent head coach hiring process and found that the club did not fully meet its obligations under MLS’ Diversity Hiring Policy, which was updated in 2021 to increase the policy’s efficacy, including a specific focus on the hiring of Black candidates and strengthening the policy’s enforcement mechanisms.

Among other things, the Diversity Hiring Policy requires that “the finalist pool includes two (2) or more candidates from underrepresented groups, whereby at least one (1) candidate must be either Black or African American.” While MLS’ review found that D.C. United met with two qualifying candidates from underrepresented groups, the review found that one of those conversations could not be considered a “finalist pool” interview. While D.C. United relied on representations made by one of the candidate’s agents that the candidate understood that they were interviewing as a finalist for the open coaching position, the club learned during the interview that the candidate was not available to pursue the open position. 

Once the club came to understand that the candidate was not available for the position, the discussion could no longer reasonably be considered a “finalist pool” interview. Therefore, the club remained obligated to bring an additional candidate from an underrepresented group into the “finalist pool” or request a waiver from MLS detailing the extenuating circumstances that would not allow them to have done so. 

D.C. United has therefore been fined $25,000 for failure to comply fully with the League’s Diversity Hiring Policy.

MLS has committed to reviewing and evaluating the Diversity Hiring Policy annually to include necessary enhancements and ensure its ongoing efficacy.

D.C. United Statement

WASHINGTON (October 31, 2022) – D.C. United respect Major League Soccer’s decision in regards to the club’s process of hiring its new head coach earlier this season.

As the league stated, the club’s recent head coach hiring process included two candidates in the finalist pool, per the league policy, from underrepresented groups, one of whom was Black or African American. One of the finalists from an underrepresented group ultimately withdrew from the process, thereby making them unavailable.

The candidate in question accepted the club’s request to interview them and participated in the interview. The candidate was asked the same questions as all other finalists, inclusive of questions around tactics, playing style, staffing, leadership, and perspective on how they would coach the team. 

Subsequent to that discussion, the candidate informed the club that it was their preference not to accept the role midseason, but rather to join the club with a full offseason in order to implement their system of play. Upon learning this at the conclusion of the interview, the club focused its attention on the remaining finalist candidates for the midseason head coaching opportunity. Had the candidate not accepted and fully participated in the interview, the club would have instead interviewed a different candidate for our finalist pool.

D.C. United have made it a fundamental practice to prioritize interviewing candidates from underrepresented groups for all leadership positions, inclusive of coaches, across the organization. This practice has resulted in the club having one of the most diverse leadership groups across Major League Soccer.