In an abrupt announcement Friday, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will postpone all league matches scheduled for this weekend.
Commissioner Lisa Baird issued a statement saying, “Business as usual isn’t our concern right now. Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better. We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association. This pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue.”
“Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect,” Baird ended.
The postponement stems from shocking allegations, which were revealed by The Athletic. Two female players came forward and accused North Carolina Courage’s Head Coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion. Furthermore, allegations of inappropriate comments were made in regards to player’s weight and sexual orientation were also included.
In a couple of hours, North Carolina Courage terminated Riley on Thursday amid the “serious allegations”.
Paul Riley – Repeated Offender
In addition to the two players, The Athletic interviewed at least a dozen others who also accused their former coach of sexual misconduct.
Some of the accusations stemmed from 2014 and 2015 when Riley was head coach of the Portland Thorns. Allegations of misconduct had already been brewing at the club during his tenure there.
When questioned by The Athletic, Riley stated the allegations were “completely untrue”.
U.S Soccer also announced its suspension of Riley’s coaching license on Friday.
“U.S. Soccer is deeply disturbed by the recent reports of misconduct. The abusive behavior described by the courageous athletes who have come forward is repulsive, unacceptable and has zero place in soccer or society.”
“Additionally, U.S. Soccer has suspended the coaching license of Paul Riley, effective immediately.”
Some of the NWSL matchups postponed for this weekend are:
Washington Spirit vs North Carolina Courage
Gotham FC vs Racing Louisville
Orlando Pride vs Chicago Red Stars
Houston Dash vs Kansas City
Reign FC vs Portland Thorns
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