Throughout the month of February, Black History Month, the Black Coaches Advocacy Group and the Women Coaches Advocacy Group honored, celebrated, and amplified the work of Black women and men in the Game. While February has ended, the opportunity to learn is available all year round. Get to know Black coaches, athletes, and leaders in soccer who are breaking barriers, empowering others, and creating a positive impact below:
Danesha Adams is a former UCLA Women’s Soccer and Thorns FC player. After playing for Medkila IL Harstad in Norway in 2015, she transitioned into coaching and now serves as the Pacific Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach.
Simone Barragan-Shaw is the smart, energetic, fun, thoughtful young coach that chose to give back to a club that she believed in. She began attending Emerson College in 2020 to pursue academics in Communications Disorders.
Messias dos Santos
Messias dos Santos is a Goalkeeper Director/Director of Coaching and Player Development in Santa Rosa, CA. His record for creating excellent goalkeepers has led to young goalkeepers moving to his town to receive tutelage.
Ellis is the current Head Coach of the South African Senior Women’s football team. Ellis was a founding member of the South African Women’s National Team. As Head Coach, she led the team to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance in 2019.
Harper captained the USF Women’s Soccer team in 2013, where she earned her BASc and Masters in Exercise Science. She’s coached in college, club, and ODP and currently leads American University Women’s Soccer Team in the Patriot League.
Angela Hucles Mangano
Angela Hucles Mangano is the Past-President of Women’s Sports Foundation. She’s a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist with the USWNT, a former Boston Breakers pro, and now co-owner of Angel City FC.
Jackson is an Assistant Coach for Blinn College Men’s and Women’s Soccer and a current United Soccer Coaches 30 Under 30. She’s coached at the collegiate and club levels. She’s an alum of Northwestern State University and played pro for FFC Montabur.
Danita is the President of Business Operations for DC United. She’s the first Black president of an MLS club, and only the third woman in the league’s history to hold such a role. She came to DC from the WNBA’s LA Sparks.
Ahkeela Mollon is a former Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Team forward and the current Director of Women’s Football for the Anguilla Football Association. Mollon played collegiately for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
George Edward Pope
George Edward Pope, born December 24, 1973, is a retired American soccer player. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. After his professional career, he started a foundation for at-risk youth named Kicks for Kids the Eddie Pope Foundation.
Briana Scurry is a FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Olympic gold-medalist, one of the Washington Spirit’s new investors, and a USWNT goalkeeping legend. Scurry has served as an Assistant in the NWSL.
Thomas is an OSU Women’s Soccer All-American, who has coached college and youth and is the Tulsa Soccer Club Girls Director of Coaching and ECNL. She is on the Leadership Team and co-chair of the Mom’s Initiative for the Women’s Advocacy Group.
Nichole Tiggs is a University of Illinois Soccer Volunteer Assistant. Tiggs has coached at collegiate and youth levels and spent time as Academy Director for the Chicago Red Stars. She’s also an expert in technology having worked for Hudl. Incredible woman and coach!
Rachel Wadunah is the highest licensed woman coach in Papua New Guinea and the Head Coach of Tusbab Stallions FC. She also assisted Lisa Cole at the 2016 U20 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by PNG and is pioneering for gender equality in football in the Pacific
Saskia Webber a former United States international goalkeeper, World Cup champion, Angel City FC Co-Owner, and UCLA Women’s Soccer Goalkeeping Coach! Webber is an incredible goalkeeper, coach, and role model.
Alyssa Whitehead serves as Head Coach for Milligan Women’s Soccer team. She was a stellar goalkeeper at Samford Soccer and served as an assistant at UC Davis and FIU before taking her current position.
Staci Wilson received a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. She was a dominant defensive player as a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels women’s soccer team. In March 2001, the team retired Wilson’s jersey number 27. Wilson has presented at multiple United Soccer Coaches Conventions and coaches both high school and club soccer. She’s currently the Director of Player Development for Hobe Sound Soccer.
Yewande Balogun is currently a UC Davis Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach. Yewande played collegiately for Maryland Women’s Soccer and has coached in both club and college. She’s also a Founding Member Expert for Women in Soccer!
Kim Crabbe was the first Black woman called up to the USWNT and has been of tremendous service to the soccer community for over four decades. She currently serves as the Director of Outreach at the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC.
Crystal Dunn, born July 3, 1992, is an American soccer player for the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States Women’s National Team. Dunn was awarded the Mac Hermann Trophy in 2021.
Tina Frimpong Ellertson
We celebrate former USWNT player and current University of Washington Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach, Tina Ellertson! In addition to working at her alma mater, Tina has served as an assistant coach and talent scout for USYNT.
Nicole Hercules currently serves as Chair of the Black Coaches Advocacy Group. Be sure to follow her and the Black Coaches Advocacy Group as they create and support initiatives for our Black members and lead dialogue across our communities.
Lauryn Hutchinson is an incredible player, coach, and human. She played for Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, spent time on trial with the Houston Dash, and now runs her own business, the unknwn athlete.
Marley Jarvis is an Antigua and Barbuda Women’s Soccer player and an Assistant Coach for Greensboro College Women’s Soccer. Jarvis is pursuing her Masters in Strategic Leadership and is interested in consulting on all things Diversity & Inclusion.
Kia McNeill made headlines as one of the youngest Head Coaches in Division I and won 2019 Ivy League Coach of the Year as Head Coach of the Brown University Women’s Soccer team. Before coaching, McNeill was a defender for the Boston Breakers.
Aries Pickett is the Senior Manager of Talent and Administration for the League and she’s another Founding Member Expert of Women in Soccer! She lives by the words, “The only person you want to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”
Hope Powell is an English former international footballer and women’s first-team manager of Brighton & Hove Albion. She was the coach of the England women’s national football team and the Great Britain women’s Olympic football team until 2013.
Shannon Boxx Spearman
Shannon Boxx Spearman is another USWNT. Spearman currently coaches in Portland, Oregon at Bridge City Soccer, a women-led, player-centered club committed to developing and preserving the joy of the game for young female athletes.
Justinus Soni Fashanu
Justinus Soni Fashanu was an English footballer that was known by his early clubs, to be gay, and came out publicly later in his career. Becoming the first professional footballer to be openly gay. Watch the documentary on him called “Forbidden Games.”
Karla Thompson is the former Co-Chair of the United Soccer Coaches Women’s Advocacy Group and one of the most influential US Soccer Coaching Educators of our time. Thompson has been instrumental to the success of many young women coaches and currently leads multiple formal mentorship programs.
Ashley Van Vechten
Ashley Van Vechten is the Suffolk University Women’s Soccer Head Coach. She is one of the most highly decorated NCAA Division III players, was a Fulbright Scholar & Academic All-American. As a coach, she earned Great Northeast Athletic Conference honors.
Washington is a former BostonBreakers pro, coach, and equity champion. She currently serves on the MLS NEXT Equity Action Committee, advocating for and improving opportunities for all to play and enjoy the Game!
Arthur Wharton was one of the first to be noticed and cheered for their contribution to the beautiful game. Born in 1856, Wharton is thought by most to be the world’s first black professional soccer player.
Dionna Widder supports the Houston Dash and Houston Dynamo as the club’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been in professional sports since 2006 and has worked in both the NBA and WNBA.