Major League Soccer announced Tuesday that it will require teams to advance at least two non-White candidates to the final round of job interviews. The new requirement comes as the league is revamping its diversity hiring policy. 

The league previously required teams looking for new coaches or staff members to interview at least one candidate from an “diverse candidate,” similar to the NFL’s “Rooney Rule.”  The policy has now been updated to require teams to keep at least two non-White candidates in every round of interviews. 

The league also said it will fine teams that don’t follow the policy, and will update the hiring requirements each year. 

New England Revolution goalkeeper Earl Edwards, who was one of the players who worked with the league to develop the new policy, commended the decision as a step towards “a real culture shift of working together openly and transparently” in a news release announcing the decision. Colorado Rapids Coach Robin Fraser, who also helped develop the policy, said it would “undoubtedly give more exposure to Black candidates, and definitely create more opportunities within the Black community.”

A Major League Soccer game ball on April 24, 2021.

Ira L. Black/Corbis/Getty

Here are the notable updates to the MLS policy:  

  • Teams will be required to advance at least two non-White candidates to the final round of job interviews, and one of the candidates must be Black or African American.
  • Teams must provide proof that they have created an equal interview process for all candidates.  
  • The league will expand its definition of underrepresented groups to include “Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino(a), American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, Canadian Indigenous, Canadian First Nations, Women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
  • Teams must publicize vacant positions to a league-wide diversity portal. 

“A clear and purposeful focus on diverse hiring practices is necessary for all organizations to succeed, and we believe the changes made today to the policy and the work we first began 15 years ago will continue our efforts to diversify the MLS ecosystem at every level,” Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said in the release. 

“This new policy will ensure that more Black candidates will be interviewed for MLS technical positions, and we fully expect this effort to result in tangible changes to the racial makeup of technical staffs across the league,” Garber added.

The updated diversity hiring policy is one of several league initiatives designed to combat racism. The league has also created a diversity committee made up of staff, head coaches, club executives and past and former players to help create policies like Tuesday’s update.