Major League Soccer has earned high marks from a University of Central Florida Institute study on racial and gender hiring. The league received its third consecutive A for racial hiring. Its gender grade improved to a B from last year's C-plus and 2007's D-plus. "The sport of soccer is such a diverse sport between our athletes and fan base," MLS executive vice president JoAnn Neale said. "We're really striving to make our front offices reflective of that diversity."
The league office's A-plus for gender offset the lower marks that individual teams produced in that category: a D-plus for team professional positions and a C-minus for team senior administrators. The percentage of women among the professional staff in the league office rose to 48 percent from 42 percent while the percentage of minorities remained at 43 percent.
The percentage of minority coaches dropped this year. In 2008, minority coaches headed four of 15 teams, but only two held onto their jobs during the 2009 season. Minority assistant coaches also declined from 17 percent to 9.5 percent. Three teams had minority presidents or chief executives in 2009, the same as the previous year.