He’s also the only Black head coach in MLS!
Wilfried Nancy got his start as a youth soccer coach, eventually becoming a first-team assistant, MLS reports. During the 2021/2022 season, he was thrust into the spotlight as the head coach for CF Montréal, making a name for himself as a force in the league. The Columbus Crew then offered Nancy a position where he was able to implement his unique coaching style and bolster the team. Now, Nancy has brought the Crew their third-ever Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup, making history as the first Black head coach to win a Major League Soccer championship.
The Columbus Crew defeated the Los Angeles FC (LAFC) 2-1 this past weekend. Nancy’s methodological approach to coaching set the team up perfectly, ending the season with a victory. He said his team put in a lot of work, and he was proud to defeat the defending champions.
“I’m so proud of that because there is a lot of work behind that. There was a lot of courageousness behind that…We started and I told the guys, impossible is an opinion. Just enjoy it, and we’re going to grow. This is what happened, and it’s unbelievable,” Nancy told reporters.
While Nancy acknowledges the weight of making history, he hopes he’s not the last. As he ends his third year as an MLS head coach, Nancy says it’s a bittersweet victory, and he hopes that MLS will continue leading the charge to hold the door open for more Black people looking to enter into executive roles in the sport.
“I’m proud to represent, yes, the only Black [to win the Cup], but I’m not happy with that. This is something that has to change. And I know that MLS tries to do that. This is not only in MLS, this is everywhere,” said Nancy.
Cover photo: Wilfried Nancy Makes History as the First Black Coach to Win a Major League Soccer Championship/Photo by Major League Soccer