An article published this morning on The Athletic by soccer reporters Meg Linehan and Katie Strang surfaces allegations of verbal abuse, grooming, and coercion by multiple former players of head coach Paul Riley.
While the article names two former players of Riley — Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim, while at least a dozen other players anonymously contributed to The Athletic article, along with 10 sources around women’s soccer.
As of the time of this publishing, the club has made no statement on the status of Riley, though made a statement to The Athletic saying the following: “When we hired Paul, we made perfectly clear the expectations of the job and the values of our club, and from what we know, he has lived up to those expectations. If there are any players or staff that wish to come forward in accordance with NWSL league policy, we encourage them to report any inappropriate behavior as we will continue to uphold the standard of maintaining a safe and positive environment for all at the club.”
The NWSL Players Association immediately issued statements via Twitter, along with resources for current and past players.
For the PLAYERS past, present and future we are committed to providing and compiling resources, help and a safe space to those who need it. pic.twitter.com/mh4oLUXpE5
— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) September 30, 2021
The Courage play at home tomorrow night, Friday, October 1 against the Washington Spirit, and it is assumed assistant coach Scott Vallow will be at the helm for that matchup.
The Spirit are also facing multiple controversies surrounding their former coach, Richie Burke, and personnel in their front office.
Former players accuse North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion, The Athletic
NWSL coach Paul Riley accused of sexual coercion by multiple former players: Live updates and reaction, The Athletic
NWSL Players Association calls for inquiry into allegations against coach Paul Riley, ESPN.com