Systematic abuse in USA women’s soccer:

By: Mia David

On Monday, October 3rd, 2022, a report was released by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. It showed the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and U.S. Soccer Federation’s (USSF) inability to provide a safe environment for their players.

This report includes 200 interviews that investigators conducted. This investigation started long before this month. About a year ago, NWSL players Sinead Farralley and Mana Shim came forward about inappropriate behavior from former coach Paul Riley.

Paul Riley was let go by the Portland Thorns and was able to get a new coaching position five months later for the team Flash. Riley is not the only coach to be passed around the organization with little to no punishment for their actions.

According to CBS News, the report focuses on Riley, Christy Holly of Racing Louisville, and Rory Dames of the Chicago Red Stars. It goes into depth regarding the coaches’ actions and what their individual teams did in response.

This report talks in depth about how these coaches and other coaches are allowed to move from one team to another. They do this without any repercussions regarding their past behavior on other teams.

“Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players,” the report reads.

The report goes on to highlight the steps that U.S. Soccer will take to address the recommendations in the report. These recommendations end up being a total of 172 pages.

According to ESPN, these recommendations include implementing an office of participant safety to oversee the USSF’s conduct policies, publishing soccer records from SafeSport, mandating a background check of all employees, and more.

The NWSL and USSF have had problems with systematic abuse since they were first formed. However, this report coming out is being seen as a turning point. These organizations and abusive coaches are being forced to face the consequences.

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