I’m sure that most of you have read about the deeply disturbing allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) recently reported in The Athletic.
Like all of you, I am saddened and angered by these reports. As a former player and a current youth soccer coach, there is no responsibility that I take more seriously than ensuring soccer players in this country are safe and respected both on and off the field. I cannot overstate how heartbroken I am for anyone who has ever been a victim of abusive behavior or sexual misconduct in our sport.
When I took on the role of President of U.S. Soccer in 2020, our new leadership team understood that despite the challenges we faced, at its core, our mission is to create a safe space for athletes who love this sport to learn, grow and compete. That’s why U.S. Soccer is committed to stepping up to lead the change on this issue.
That means doing everything we can to fully investigate the abhorrent conduct reported and taking a hard look at the entire soccer ecosystem in this country – including ourselves – to gain a full understanding of the systemic changes that should be made to prevent anything like this from happening again.
To that end, we have retained former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Attorney General of the United States Sally Yates to lead an independent investigation into the allegations. This work has already begun, and her team has been given full autonomy, access and the necessary resources to follow the facts and evidence wherever they lead.
We have a responsibility and an opportunity before us. We must set things right for the good of athletes, teams, fans and our entire soccer community – especially the youngest players involved in our sport. Looking forward, I have the utmost confidence that the future of this sport will be brighter than ever if we all come together to build a positive, vibrant and respectful culture that can be trusted by all of our players, at every level.
The past few weeks have been incredibly painful, and I have no doubt the months ahead will also be challenging as we continue to reconcile and reflect on what took place. I want to once again commit to you that U.S. Soccer is approaching this process with humility, transparency and a desire for accountability and meaningful change.