Columbus Crew's Wilfried Nancy becomes first Black head coach to win MLS Cup

Columbus beat LAFC 2-1 on Saturday in Nancy's first season at the helm


COLUMBUS, OHIO – DECEMBER 09: Head coach Wilfried Nancy of the Columbus Crew holds the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy after winning the 2023 MLS Cup against the Los Angeles FC at Field on December 09, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It was December of 2022 when Columbus Crew gave Wilfried Nancy the keys.

Since winning the MLS Cup in 2020, Columbus failed to qualify for the playoffs in the each of the two ensuing seasons.

About a year later, Nancy helped guide the Crew to glory, as his side won the 2023 MLS Cup with a 2-1 victory over defending champions LAFC on Saturday.

With the result, Nancy made history as the first Black head coach to win the MLS Cup.

The Crew finished as the No. 3 seed out East with a 16-9-9 win-draw-loss record, then went on to win the main title -- its third MLS Cup in franchise history -- after eliminating regular-season champions FC Cincinnati on the road in the conference final.

Nancy said after the game Saturday he was proud of the accomplishment but wants change at the same time.

"I’m so proud of that because there is a lot of work behind that," Nancy said in his postgame press conference. "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 MLS 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."

The 46-year-old native of Le Havre, France, played as a defender for several amateur and semi-professional clubs in his home country before becoming a coach in 2006.

He got his first main gig with Montreal Impact's academy from 2011 to 2015, then joined the first team as an assistant coach from 2016 to 2021. He was then promoted to head coach in 2021 and 2022 before Columbus compensated Montreal to acquire his services.

It's definitely safe to say Columbus made the right investment.

Six countries will host the soccer tournament.
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