The Movement

Major League Soccer and the Election | The Movement

The Movement - September 2020 - audio episode

There’s less than a week remaining before a monumental U.S. election that will affect the lives of all Americans.

On this episode of the Movement Podcast, host and former MLS player Calen Carr examines the issue of voting rights in America, and travels to the battleground state of Pennsylvania to see how the Black Players for Change and the entire Philadelphia Union organization opened their stadium as a three-day voter service center, despite opposition.

Carr speaks with Union defender and rising MLS star Mark McKenzie and a host of other players about voting, and also welcomes USWNT player and U.S. Olympian Danielle Slaton to discuss the challenges athletes face when they play an active role in politics and social issues. Carr also speaks with FC Cincinnati and Charlotte Independence forward Rey Ortiz on the experience of being undocumented in MLS, all with the goal of determining one single but complicated idea: The value of a vote.

Carr delves deep into the right each individual has to cast a vote, and the role Major League Soccer and its players have in driving people to the polls. The MLS Unites to Vote campaign has galvanized support from players and coaches to encourage voter participation across the North American soccer landscape, and led to MLS stadiums from coast to coast being utilized as polling places on Election Day.


  • 0:00 – Calen travels to Philadelphia to speak with Mark McKenzie and Warren Creavalle about the Union opening up their stadium as a Pop-Up Voting Center
  • 4:07 – From Kei Kamara to Bob Bradley, players and coaches around the league encourage people to get out and vote
  • 7:40 – Calen and Dasan Robinson discuss seeing Barack Obama win the election in 2008 and how it impacted them
  • 11:22 – Niko Hansen examines the voting climate in Houston and the opening of BBVA as a polling station
  • 13:40 – Voter Repression, then and now, and how Seattle based artist Teddy “Stat” Phillips is using his work to promote change and voter turnout
  • 19:10 - U.S. Olympian Danielle Slaton discusses the challenges athletes face when they play an active role in politics and social issues
  • 23:45 – Mexican-American rookie Rey Ortiz and what it means to vote for those who aren’t able to
  • 30:46 – Calen asks what it is that people are voting for? And who is on their mind, heading into the polls?