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Report: MLS has improved racial, gender hiring practices

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Major League Soccer made improvements in both its racial and gender hiring practices, according to an annual report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

[ MORE: USMNT defender Matt Miazga scores for Vitesse ]

MLS received an overall grade of B+ with a combined grade of 84.7, up by a significant 1.5 percentage points from the league’s 2015 overall grade.

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Richard Lapchick, the author of the report, said MLS’s improvements are encouraging.

“The league office is doing really in the racial and gender hiring practices and we’re seeing some increases at the team level as well, so that’s definitely a plus,” Lapchick told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Laphchick said that MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s office has been the pacesetter with an A+ in racial hiring and an A- in gender hiring and added, “The teams need to follow the League’s example more closely.”

For its racial hiring practices, MLS earned 88.5 points, up a substantial 2.1 percentage points from 86.3 in 2015. This resulted in a B+, the same letter grade as last year.

MLS received an A- for head coaches, a B+ for team professional administration, and a B for team senior administration and assistant coaches when it came to racial hiring practices. There was a major improvement in the general manager position where four GMs who were people of color were hired, prompting the grade to rise from an F in 2015 to a B+ this year.

MLS earned a B for gender hiring practices, the same letter grade as in 2015. In so doing, MLS remains the only other men’s professional league other than the NBA with a B for gender hiring practices.

The most notable achievement for gender hiring practices came at the league office employee level, where the MLS received an A- grade. The team senior administration received a C- and team professional administration received a C+. There was also major improvement for gender in senior administration where the MLS jumped from an F in 2015 to a C- in 2016, although Lapchick said in his report that area remains “a serious concern.”

MLS earned an A+ for its outstanding diversity initiatives for the eighth consecutive season.

Some other notes from the report:

– The MLS League Office continued to be the standard-bearer for the entire league with people of color comprising 36.4 percent of all professional positions, while women filled 37 percent of these positions.

– People of color with head coaching positions increased from 10 percent in 2015 to 20 percent in 2016. The Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, New York City FC and FC Dallas were the four MLS franchises led by Latinos.

– Assistant coaches of color decreased by 5.2 percentage points from 18.8 percent in 2015 to 13.6 percent in 2015.

– MLS teams have the worst record in professional sport for hiring people of color as team vice presidents. There was a decrease in vice presidents who were people of color in the 2016 season from 6.4 percent in 2015 to 4 percent in 2016.

– Alex Leitao with Orlando City Soccer was the only person of color holding the position of CEO/president.

– Earnie Stewart, of the Philadelphia Union, was the first African-American GM in MLS since its inception.

Day 9: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U20 World Cup

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Five teams booked their place in the knockout phase at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, including Tab Ramos and the U.S. after the Americans picked up a valuable point to finish atop Group F.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

USMNT U-20s 1-1 Saudi Arabia

An unbeaten record in group play has Ramos and Co. moving on to the Round of 16, where the U.S. will meet New Zealand. Brooks Lennon inked his name on the scoresheet for the first time at this month’s World Cup just prior to halftime, before Abdulelah Alamri equalized with almost a quarter hour left to play.

Senegal 0-0 Ecuador

A draw was all Senegal needed to ensure it would continue its run at the World Cup, while Ecuador fell short of a final 16 bid after only managing two draws during Group F play.

New Zealand 0-2 France

With nine goals for and none conceded during Group E play, France remains one of the heavy hitters at the conclusion of the group phase. Les Bleus received a strong contribution from Bastia winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who netted twice in the first half.

Honduras 2-0 Vietnam

Honduras scored twice in the final 14 minutes-plus added time but neither nation reaches the Round of 16 with Sunday’s result.

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

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HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

[ MORE: Perisic talking with Man Utd? ]

The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”

MLS roundup: Outrageous dive, posts doom ‘Caps; Ramirez stays red hot

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Six matches are in the books on a busy Saturday in Major League Soccer, and five of them finished 1-0.

How they got there? Much different stories. With the Cali Clasico still to play, let’s dig into the five that followed Seattle 1-0 Portland.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]


Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 DC United

It’s especially difficult to win on the road in Major League Soccer, unless the hosts fritter away four good chances off the woodwork — including a Cristian Techera PK — and give away a spot kick of their own. Lamar Neagle converted the 61st offering after a sinister dive from Jose Guillermo Ortiz. He was taken off soon after, and is probably going to miss sometime when the DisCo is done with him. Outrageous.

New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

Not one, not two, nor three, but four New England players saw a low cross slide by them for Daniel Royer to finish as New York came from behind to take all three points at Red Bull Arena. Cody Cropper committed a gaffe that allowed Bradley Wright-Phillips to equalize after a Lee Nguyen PK had put the Revs ahead early.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sporting KC

Homegrown defender and University of Denver product Kortne Ford has his first MLS goal, as the Rapids surprised the Western Conference leaders on Saturday. SKC outshot Colorado by nearly 20 attempts (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Minnesota United 1-0 Orlando City

There were questions as to whether NASL superstar Christian Ramirez could translate his game to Major League Soccer.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Ramirez has eight goals in 13 MLS matches, and should be hearing his name from a certain Bruce Arena around Gold Cup time. Those USMNT dreams of last season should come true.

Bobby Shuttleworth made six saves for his third shutout of the season. All have come at home.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Philadelphia Union

Joao Plata keeps shooting, and the tiny Ecuadorian menace keeps scoring, too. His 36th minute goal was enough for the hosts at Rio Tinto.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.