U.S. Soccer says an investigation into alleged abuse and misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League is expected to be completed by early next month.
The investigation, led by former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, was initiated last fall after North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley was accused of sexual harassment and coercion by two former players.
Riley was fired and league Commissioner Lisa Baird stepped down in the wake of the players’ claims. U.S. Soccer and the NWSL and its players association announced separate investigations.
U.S. Soccer issued a brief statement on the status of its probe Monday: “Last October, U.S. Soccer retained Sally Q. Yates of King & Spalding LLP to lead an independent investigation into allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in women’s professional soccer. That investigation is nearing its conclusion. U.S. Soccer will publish the full report by early October, following the completion of the investigation.”
Riley was among five NWSL coaches who were either dismissed or stepped down last season amid claims of inappropriate behavior.
The list of coaches who were fired or stepped down includes the head coach and general manager of the Houston Dash, who was suspended in April after similar allegations were raised about him. The Dash still have an interim coach, so I suppose he could come back, but I’m including him in this group anyway. Paul Riley’s alleged behavior had stretched back a decade, including his time with another team. The league was aware of the issue but took no action; this resulted in the NWSL Commissioner resigning once it all came to light. I don’t know what this report will say, but you may recall Sally Yates as being one of the first people Donald Trump fired for not being slavishly loyal to him and his every wish, so I have faith in her integrity. Whatever this report does say, I hope the NWSL is a much better place for the players now and going forward.