Columbus Crew coach Wilfried Nancy said he was "proud but not happy" to have become the first black coach to win the title in the North American soccer league (MLS) on Saturday.
Although several black coaches have previously officiated in MLS, including French soccer stars Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, Wilfried Nancy is currently the only one at the helm of a franchise. And the first to win the title after the Columbus Crew beat Los Angeles FC (2-1) in Ohio on Saturday.
I'm very proud of that. Because it rewards a lot of hard work, and a lot of courage," he replied, when asked about this state of affairs. "But I'm not happy at the same time. Because it's not normal. I'm proud to be a representative, to be the only black person. But I'm not happy about it. This is something that needs to change. I know MLS is trying. It's not just a problem in MLS.»
The North American championship has taken several initiatives to improve opportunities for Black coaches, which Nancy applauded.
The 46-year-old, who has played in France's lower divisions, has spent his entire coaching career in North America since 2005. After being Thierry Henry's assistant in Montreal, he took charge of the first team in 2021, then joined Columbus at the end of 2022.
After the final whistle I was very emotional, I thought about those things (his unusual journey). My family came here for this project, it's a life project," he added.