Following allegations of verbal and sexual misconduct by former NWSL head coach Paul Riley uncovered by a 2021 report in The Athletic, U.S. Soccer in October 2021 commissioned Sally Yates and law firm King & Spalding to conduct an independent investigation of misconduct across the NWSL. The investigation's findings were made public on Monday, October 3, 2022.
The final 172-page report contained details of a lengthy list of "systemic abuse and misconduct" across NWSL and women's soccer.
"This is not a case of tough coaching or players being overly sensitive," Yates said in her press conference remarks. "We're talking about sustained, degrading and manipulative conduct that was all about power, not about enhancing a player's performance."
The report itself focused on three specific cases in th ronaldo shirt photos e NWSL, but in a press conference following the report's release, Yates indicated that there were other instances of misconduct uncovered throughout the investigation. She stated that her group decided not to pursue additional cases of misconduct, as they believed it was more beneficial to release the report in a timely fashion.
"Teams, the ronaldo t shirt full sleeve League [NWSL], and the Federation [U.S. ronaldo jersey adidas Soccer] not only repeatedly failed to respond appropriately when confronted with player reports and evidence of abuse, they also failed to institute basic measures to prevent and address it, even as some leaders privately acknowledged the need for workplace protections," the report read.
The NWSL has teamed up with the NWSL Players' Association to complete their own joint investigation, the results of which have not yet been disclosed.
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Key findings: Investigation of abuse in women's soccer
The 172-page Yates report outlined evidence that pointed towards a culture of abuse and misconduct throughout women's soccer in the United States, specifically focused in the NWSL.
The report stated that it had "revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct — verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct — had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims."
As the report puts it, "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 verbal and emotional abuse players d cristiano ronaldo vs messi shirt sales escribe in the NWSL is not merely “tough” coaching. And the players affected are not shrinking violets."
The nine key findings follow below as cited from the report:
- From the NWSL's inception, teams, the NWSL, and USSF failed to put in place basic measures for player safety (pages 4-6).
- Abuse in the NWSL was systemic (pages 6-12).
- Teams, the NWSL, and the [US Soccer] Federation failed to adequately address reports and evidence of misconduct (pages 12-13).
- Abusive coaches moved from team to team, and even to USSF, because teams, the NWSL, and USSF failed to identify and inform others of coaches’ misconduct (pages 13-14).
- A culture of abuse, silence, and fear of retaliation perpetuated the misconduct (pages 15-16).
- Players lacked job security and protection from retaliation, further chilling reports of misconduct (pages 16-17).
- Teams, the NWSL, and USSF should supplement SafeSport’s efforts to keep players safe (pages 17-18).
- USSF’s, the NWSL’s, and certain team’s failure to adequately respond to reports and evidence of misconduct put additional players at risk and created a toxic tone from the top (page 18).
- Abuse in women’s professional leagues appears rooted in youth soccer (page 18).
In the interest of timely publication of the report in order that the soccer community could move forward with tangible action, Yates stated that the investigation honed in on three instances of abuse.
Two were previously reported by the media — the cases involving former coaches Paul Riley and Rory Dames — while the Yates investigation also uncovered a previously unreported case of abuse by former Racing Louisville coach Christy Holly.
Paul Riley & Portland Thorns
- Yates report: Pages 49-88
Liverpool-born Paul Riley coached the Portland Thorns from 2014-15, and would go on to later coach NWSL side North Carolina Courage from 2016-21 until he was terminated following the report by The Athletic.
Riley's departure from the Thorns followed a complaint by former player Meleana Shim. The report mentions, as Yates brought up during her press conference, that the reasons for Riley's departure were swept under the rug and the Thorns press release instead thanked him for his service to the club.
In the wake of his departure from the club, there was a failure on multiple levels to disclose the misconduct to both future employers and other individuals who would be considered "need to know."
Rory Dames & Chicago Red Stars
- Yates report: Pages 89-126
Rory Dames was head coach of the Chicago Red Stars for cristiano ronaldo auto jersey 10 years, from 2011-2021. Dames was terminated following a report by the Washington Times that detailed abuse and harassment.
The Yates report uncovered multiple instances of players recalling detailed verbal abuse by Dames, even as far back as his time with youth club Chicago Eclipse Select. It also detailed a "sexualized team environment" fostered by Dames which on occasion "crossed the line" into sexual relationships.
The report stated that this conduct was reported to NWSL and U.S. Soccer leadership, but the actions were "chalked up to 'Rory being Rory.'"
Christy Holly & Racing Louisville
- Yates report: Pages 127-156
Northern Ireland-born Christy Holly rose to prominence through the youth ranks of New York Sky Blue (now NJ/NY Gotham FC) before being named the club's head coach in 2016. He departed a year later due to his relationship with team captain Christine Pierce, but was eventually hired by Racing Louisville in August of 2020. He wouldn't last a year, terminated "for cause" in August of 2021.
As the Yates report details, "ultimately, Holly was asked to leave the club [Sky Blue] abruptly, midseason, because of his 'verbal abuse' and his 'relationship with a player.' Publicly, however, the club stated the team and Holly had 'mutually agreed' to part ways and thanked him."
After his departure from Sky Blue, he worked as a consultant and scout for U.S. Soccer, who the report says did not attempt to discover the reasons behind his departure from the NWSL club. The report states gunnarsson ronaldo shirt that he "repeated the same pattern of misconduct" at Louisville, including "verb cristiano ronaldo soccer jersey youth al and emotional abuse of players and a relationship with a staff member that caused problems."
Recommendations for USA women's soccer by Yates report
The final portion of the Yates report provides recommendations for the NWSL and U.S. Soccer to improve workplace safety and help eradicate the systemic behaviors uncovered by the investigation.
It encourages the USSF to exert its influence on the NWSL to ensure that the NWSL and its teams take the appropriate actions.
The following recommendations were made by the Yates report (pages 157-172):
- Transparency: Teams should be required to accurately disclose misconduct to the NWSL an cristiano ronaldo jersey purple d USSF to ensure that abusive coaches do not move from team to team.
- Licensing requirements: USSF should require meaningful vetting of coaches and, when necessary, use its licensing authority to hold wrongdoers accountable.
- Investigation requirement: USSF should require the NWSL to conduct timely investigations into allegations of abuse, impose appropriate discipline, and immediately disseminate investigation outcomes.
- Clear rules: USSF should adopt uniform and clear policies and codes of conduct that apply to all Organization Members and are found in single place on USSF’s website.
- Training: USSF should require the NWSL to conduct annual training for players and coaches on applicable policies governing verbal and emotional abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment, and retaliation.
- Player safety and respect: USSF, the NWSL, and teams should each designate an individ cristiano ronaldo in barcelona jersey ual within their organizations who is responsible for player safety.
- USSF role in player safety requirements: USSF should strengthen player safety requirements in professional leagues.
- Player feedback: USSF should require the NWSL to implement a system to annually solicit and act on player feedback.
- Youth soccer: USSF should collaborate with its youth member organizations and other stakeholders to examine whether additional measures are necessary to protect youth players.
- Discipline: The NWSL should determine whether discipline is warranted in light of these findings and the findings of the NWSL/NWSLPA joint investigation.
- SafeSport: Teams, the NWSL, and USSF should not rely exclusively on SafeSport to keep players safe and should implement safety measures where necessary to protect players in the USSF landscape.
- Implementation of recommendations: USSF should determine the most effective structure mechanism, whether through an existing board committee, a special committee, or task force, to evaluate and implement recommendations, as well as to consider further reforms in support of player safety.
What is U.S. Soccer doing?
On the same day that the report was released, U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone formed a new board committee and a separate taskforce to implement the recommendations issued by the Yates report.
The new committee is chaired by former U.S. women's national team player Danielle Slaton, and the vice-chair is Mike Cullina who hails from U.S. youth soccer.
Among other things, the committee will be tasked with looking at potential disciplinary actions, coaching licensing, investigation protocols, player feedback, racism in soccer, SafeSport concerns, professional league standards, changes needed in youth soccer, and per Parlow Cone "determining how U.S. soccer can add more teeth to our governance including considering new measure to hold people accountable."
T cristiano ronaldo shirt he Participant Safety Taskforce will include "leaders across the sport and at all levels and led by athletes themselves. This task force will coordinate efforts to implement the report's recommendations and shed clarity on conduct-related policies and procedures." More details are expected by the start of November 2022.
"We're going to do this as quickly and effectively as possible," Parlow Cone said.
"These actions will be the first of many steps we will take to detect, prevent and address various forms of misconduct and abuse. … We have a lot of work to do not just to make our sport safe but to rebuild our sport's culture where everyone not just feels safe, but feels welcomed and supported."
The U.S. Soccer Federation said it will be publishing the complete action plan in response to the Yates report on or before January 31, 2023.
In the interim, Parlow Cone confirmed that the three coaches who were the focus of the Yates investigation "no longer have a coaching license with U.S. Soccer."