whereas America While preparing for their Friday match against England at Wembley Stadium, players are still trying to process an investigation that has found systematic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in women’s football. “We are frightened, heartbroken, disappointed, exhausted and very, very angry,” said defenseman Becky Sauerbrunn.
Former Acting US Attorney General Sally Q. Yates investigated allegations of abuse at the Women’s National Soccer League after a series of scandals last year. The NWSL and its player associations are conducting another investigation. And it is that five out of ten NWSL coaches were fired or resigned last season amid allegations of misconduct. These include North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, who was fired after two former players, Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, accused him of coercion and sexual assault a decade earlier. Riley denied the allegations.
Yates’ report focused on three former managers, including Riley, and found not only misconduct by all three, but also that their clubs were not fully affiliated. “For too long it has been up to the players to demand change because those in positions of authority have repeatedly failed to protect us and hold ourselves and others accountable. Who are they protecting and what values are they protecting? They have failed in their management. The owners, officers and officials of the federation who are investigating should resign.”
OL Reigns player Alana Cook said: “I think on Friday we have an important opportunity to play in a sold-out stadium like Wembley, but this report has clouded the game, and it is surrounded by the atrocities that Approved, tolerated and permitted”. The report made a number of recommendations to prioritize the health and safety of female players. Among them it requires that teams accurately report misconduct by coaches to the league and soccer federation so that To ensure that coaches cannot move between teams, there is also a need for meaningful inquiry of coaches and timely investigation of complaints.
US Soccer also said it would immediately implement programs to protect players. “It was a tough day, yesterday, a lot of emotions, different emotions. I’m personally saddened by the report because of everything we’ve seen in it,” said American coach Vlatko Andonovsky. “At the same time, I feel great sympathy for the players and I have great respect for the bravery of those who spoke and participated in this report. Football is a sport we all love and it should be a safe place.”