Investigation Finds ‘systemic,’ ‘heartbreaking’ Abuse In Women’s Soccer, And Failures At Highest Level Of Sport

The US Women’s National Soccer League abuse investigation found evidence of verbal, emotional and sexual abuse at the highest levels of the sport, leaving scores of players disappointed by coaches, managers, the NWSL and the federation itself. .

On Monday, US Soccer released the results of a year-long investigation by former Deputy US Attorney Sally Yates.

In a 319-page report, Yates said: “Our investigation found that violence and behavior – verbal and emotional abuse and sexual harassment – are systemic in the league.” Violence in the NWSL is deeply rooted in the culture of women’s youth soccer. tournament that includes verbal abuse training. It normalizes and blurs the lines between coaches and players.’

American Soccer announced that Yates will conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and coercion by longtime NWSL manager Paul Riley. Later, other serious allegations surfaced against Chicago Red Stars manager Rory Dahms. Yates’ report included additional unreported sexual harassment allegations against then-Louisville Athletics coach Christie Holly, who was abruptly fired last year.

Holly, a man, calls actress Erin Simon for a movie shoot and tells her that he touches her “with every move [she] makes.” “He put his hands in his pants and his shirt,” he continued. Simon “cried” at the end of the session.

After interviewing more than 200 people in total, Yatt and his research team wrote that they heard “relentless and humiliating actions, manipulation of power, failure to improve performance, and retaliation against those who tried to approach them.”

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“The most disturbing were the stories of sexual harassment. Players have described sexist comments, unwanted sex and sexism.”

The NWSL, the league and the former governing body of United States Soccer, the sport’s national governing body, “repeatedly failed not only to adequately respond to player reports and abuse, but failed to take meaningful action.” Some leaders recognize the need for workplace safety to prevent and resolve personal problems.

As a result, abusive coaches move from team to team, thanks to press releases and positive feedback from teams that downplay or cover up bad behavior. But the chance to set the record in the NWSL and USSF is quiet. And no one asks better than the coaches of teams, leagues and federations.”

In his brief, Yates listed 12 recommendations to “prevent future abuse, hold offenders accountable, ensure transparency and create a professional environment where players are treated with respect.”

These guidelines require teams to “properly report violations to the NWISL and USSF.” US Soccer must conduct a “meaningful investigation of the manager” and an ongoing investigation into the allegations, and “the NWSL must determine whether disciplinary action is warranted based on those findings.”

Sancu said the federation is taking the fastest steps we have taken today to bring together football heads from across the country to work together on recommendations to make meaningful and lasting changes across the football ecosystem.

US Soccer will “soon establish a new Office of Participation Safety to oversee US Soccer’s conduct policy and reporting process,” the statement said. Publishing SafeSport database records “to publicly identify individuals who have been sanctioned, suspended or banned from our sport”; and “imposing a single minimum standard for background checks for all U.S. Soccer personnel at all levels of the game, including youth soccer.”

The NWSL, which is conducting its own investigation with the NWSL Players Association, said in a statement that it will “immediately review the Yeats report” and “asked the Joint Investigation Panel to consider its recommendations. The NWSL also indicated when, after the Joint. The Investigation Team completed its report, we asked Yeats to review the findings of the report and investigate if necessary.

“We appreciate the cooperation of our players, staff and stakeholders in both investigations,” the league said in a statement. We understand the stress and emotional strain caused by this pending investigation, as well as the numerous injuries players and staff must heal from. We have to continue with the championship.”

The NWSL team opposes the investigation process
In his research, Yates first encountered the same attitudes that brought violent coaches to power. The Portland Ships, who hired two players accused of sexual misconduct by Riley, Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, “have obstructed access to key witnesses and advanced unique legal arguments to prevent access to relevant documents,” Yates wrote. .

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