Three NWSL clubs failed to cooperate with U.S. Soccer investigation into abuse

Three NWSL clubs failed to cooperate with the U.S. Soccer investigation conducted by Sally Q. Yates into allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in women’s professional soccer. 

Despite previously pledging to full transparency and cooperation in public statements, the Chicago Red Stars, Portland Thorns and Racing Louisville all took actions that hindered the investigation and ongoing prodecures. Each team played a crucial role in the case, having at one time employed the coaches being investigated for allegations of misconduct, including Paul Riley, Rory Dames and Christy Holly.

In total, 11 current or former NWSL clubs provided the needed documentation and cooperated with the investigation to varying degrees. But the previous three clubs did not. 

“The Thorns refused to produce relevant documents for months, making specious arguments that the materials were protected by the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges, causing months of delay and impeding interviews of key witnesses,” the report reads.

“In addition, the Red Stars initially sought to narrow the scope of our investigation by declining to produce documents beyond those relating directly to Rory Dames,” the report adds. “The Red Stars have partially retreated from that position, but we have had to obtain documents from other cooperating sources to supplement their incomplete production.”

Racing Louisville “refused to provide any information” in regards to former head coach Christy Holly’s tenure with the team, according to the report. The team also did not permit witnesses, including former employees, to answer any questions pertaining to Holly’s tenure, citing previous non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements. 

“In general, teams, the NWSL, and USSF appear to have prioritized concerns of legal exposure to litigation by coaches — and the risk of drawing negative attention to the team or League — over player safety and well-being,” the report reads.

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