Wilfried Nancy first Black coach to win MLS Cup: "I’m so proud"


COLUMBUS, Ohio – In just his third year as an MLS head coach, Wilfried Nancy has forged new ground.

The Frenchman is now the first Black head coach to win MLS Cup presented by Audi, an honor achieved Saturday night when his Columbus Crew earned a 2-1 victory over defending champions LAFC.

"I’m so proud of that because there is a lot of work behind that," Nancy said in his postgame press conference at Field. "There was a lot of courageousness behind that. But I’m not happy at the same time because it's not normal. Simple as that.

"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."

Nancy rose to prominence as CF Montréal's head coach from 2021-22, biding his time in the youth ranks and as a first-team assistant beforehand. Columbus compensated the Canadian club last December to acquire Nancy's services and he quickly implemented his bold, front-foot style – bringing the Crew their third-ever MLS Cup.

Methodical and philosophical, Nancy's group has ended 2023 on top. First-half goals from Cucho Hernández and Yaw Yeboah created a big enough cushion to ensure Dénis Bouanga's late lifeline ended as a consolation strike.

"We started and I told the guys, impossible is an opinion," Nancy said. "Just enjoy it and we're going to grow. This is what happened and it's unbelievable."