MLS League Awards

Black Players for Change named MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year

Awards - 2020 - Humanitarian of the Year

Black Players for Change (BPC) have been named the 2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, Major League Soccer announced Tuesday.

Consisting of more than 170 players, coaches and staff of MLS, BPC strives to advance the attention on human rights inequalities from protest to programs, partnerships and policies that address systemic racism.

Since being announced on Juneteenth 2020, the organization has made a significant impact in the soccer community and beyond. Before kickoff of the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament in July, BPC organized and led a peaceful demonstration for racial equality and human rights. During the moment of solidarity, Black players from across MLS wore custom-designed T-shirts sporting the phrases “Silence is Violence,” “Black and Proud” and “Black All The Time.”

BPC also worked in collaboration with adidas and MLS to develop the #MLSisBlack Solidarity Top for players, coaches and staff around the League. The top was also sold online with all profits going to The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, 100 Black Men of America and Player’s Coalition in partnership with BPC.

In September, BPC announced plans to build 12 mini-pitches in one year’s time in conjunction with Musco Lighting, adidas and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. The pitches are part of a long-term partnership between the organizations aimed at breaking down systemic barriers that have kept children of color from playing soccer. The organizations have pledged to invest more than $1 million to complete the first 12 mini-pitches. The first pitch was unveiled in October at West Side High School in Newark, N.J. in partnership with the New York Red Bulls.

In addition, BPC partnered with several groups to lead the charge on civic engagement in this year’s elections. In partnership with Major League Soccer and Major League Soccer Players Association, BPC launched a league-wide, non-partisan initiative to drive voter registration for players, club and league personnel, and fans. The initiative resulted in the closing of league and club offices on Election Day, the opening of various stadiums for safe in-person voting, and the registration of 95% of all players eligible to vote. Black Players for Change also partnered with More Than A Vote, When We All Vote and NBA Players Association to hold voting education webinars and create public service announcements to leverage the collective platform of athletes and celebrities.

In recognition of the humanitarian efforts of Black Players for Change, MLS WORKS will donate $5,000 to the organization.

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Winners

  • 2020: Black Players for Change
  • 2019: Matt Lampson - LA Galaxy
  • 2018: Matt Lampson - Minnesota United
  • 2017: Ryan Hollingshead - FC Dallas
  • 2016: Matt Lampson - Chicago Fire
  • 2015: Kei Kamara - Columbus Crew SC
  • 2014: A.J. DeLaGarza - LA Galaxy
  • 2013: Matt Reis - New England Revolution
  • 2012: Chris Seitz - FC Dallas
  • 2011: Zak Boggs - New England Revolution
  • 2010: Seth Stammler - New York Red Bulls
  • 2009: Jimmy Conrad - Kansas City Wizards; Logan Pause - Chicago Fire
  • 2008: Jose Burciaga Jr. - Colorado Rapids
  • 2007: Diego Gutierrez - Chicago Fire
  • 2006: Michael Parkhurst - New England Revolution
  • 2005: Brian Kamler - Real Salt Lake
  • 2004: Chris Henderson - Colorado Rapids
  • 2003: Ben Olsen - D.C. United
  • 2002: Steve Jolley - MetroStars
  • 2001: Tim Howard - MetroStars
  • 2000: Abdul Thompson Conteh - San Jose Earthquakes