November 30, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Disturbing results of US women's soccer abuse probe: "It's happening systematically"

Disturbing results of US women’s soccer abuse probe: “It’s happening systematically”

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Abuse and misconduct are systemic in American women’s soccer. That’s according to an independent investigation launched after allegations of sexual abuse against coach Paul Riley came to light in October 2021.

Jonas Withack

US Soccer, the American soccer association, decided to launch an investigation after several players came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against then-North Carolina coach Paul Riley. As soon as it came to light, Lisa Bird immediately resigned as president of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), America’s top soccer league.

“Our investigation found a competition where verbal and emotional abuse and sexual abuse has become systemic across multiple teams and coaches,” said former attorney Sally Cue. A joint investigation with the law firm Yates, King & Spaulding concludes.

“Heartbreaking”

Current U.S. Soccer president Cindy Cohn called the investigations “heartbreaking and “disturbing.” “They expose systemic flaws in soccer. It needs to be addressed if it is to be a safe place for athletes at every level. Change must come.”

U.S. Soccer is taking further steps to address the issue. For example, there will be an office to monitor player safety and a central database with data on individuals against whom disciplinary action has been taken.

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The NSWL is also taking action. The women’s competition organization and the players’ organization are conducting a joint investigation. “We appreciate the cooperation of our players, staff and stakeholders in both investigations, particularly during the current season. We recognize the fear and stress these ongoing investigations have caused and we feel the trauma that many, including players and staff, must relive.

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