The National Women’s Soccer League permanently banned four coaches on Monday in response to an investigation into alleged abuse and misconduct in the league.
Four former coaches Paul Riley (North Carolina), Rory Dames (Chicago Red Stars), Richie Burke (Washington Spirit) and Christy Holly (Racing Louisville) were banned from coaching in the league. Former Utah Royals coach Craig Harrington and former Gotham general manager Alyse LaHue were suspended from working in the NWSL for two years.
The NWSL and its players association announced the results late last month of the investigation, which found “widespread misconduct” directed at players dating back to the beginnings of the league nearly a decade ago.
The investigation stemmed from allegations of harassment and sexual coercion made by two former players against Riley, who was among five NWSL coaches who were either dismissed or resigned amid claims of misconduct in 2021. US Soccer also investigated reported misconduct in the league.
“The league will continue to prioritize implementing and enhancing the policies, programs and systems that put the health and safety of our players first,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said in a statement on Monday. “Those actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players’ ability to succeed and prosper on and off the pitch.”
A number of other individuals will be allowed to return to positions in the NWSL on certain conditions, including acknowledging misconduct, participating in training and committing to appropriate behavior. They included former coaches Farid Benstiti, Vera Pauw, James Clarkson, Amanda Cromwell and assistants Sam Greene and Aline Reis.
Several teams were also fined: The Chicago Red Stars were fined $1.5m, the Portland Thorns $1m, Racing Louisville $200,000 and the North Carolina Courage $100,000. The Reign and Gotham were each fined $50,000.