Tuesday Dec 6, 2022
Tuesday Dec 6, 2022

Abuse in women’s pro soccer league was systemic, report says


Nepalnews
2022 Oct 04, 19:24,
Portland Thorns fans hold signs during the first half of the team's NWSL soccer match against the Houston Dash in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo)

An independent investigation into the scandals that erupted in the National Women’s Soccer League last season found emotional abuse and sexual misconduct were systemic in the sport, impacting multiple teams, coaches and players, according to a report released Monday.

U.S. Soccer commissioned the investigation by Yates and the law firm King & Spaulding after former NWSL players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim came forward with allegations of harassment and sexual coercion dating back a decade involving former coach Paul Riley. Their account was published by The Athletic in September 2021.

Riley, who denied the allegations, was quickly fired as head coach of the North Carolina Courage, and NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird stepped down.

But it was clear the problems were widespread. Five of the 10 head coaches in the NWSL last season either were fired or stepped down amid allegations of misconduct.

Washington Spirit players celebrate after defeating Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL Championship soccer match Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky. (AP Photo)
Washington Spirit players celebrate after defeating Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL Championship soccer match Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky. (AP Photo)

More than 200 people were interviewed by investigators. Some two dozen entities and individuals provided documents. U.S. Soccer also provided documents and the firm reviewed 89,000 deemed likely to be relevant.

U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone called the findings “heartbreaking and deeply troubling.” The report recounts an episode in 2013, when Parlow Cone was coach of the Portland Thorns, in which she herself experienced an inappropriate comment by a team executive.

The report made numerous recommendations to prioritize player health and safety. Among them is the requirement that teams accurately disclose coach misconduct to the league and the soccer federation to ensure coaches aren’t allowed to move between teams. It also calls for meaningful vetting of coaches and timely investigation into allegations of abuse.

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women’s pro soccer league National Women’s Soccer League emotional abuse sexual misconduct player health and safety
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