Today U.S. Soccer released the full findings and recommendations [LINK] of Sally Q. Yates’ independent investigation into allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in women’s professional soccer.
We are grateful to Sally Yates and her team for their thorough work and sincere commitment to finding the facts and making recommendations that will improve the sport we all love. Most importantly, I’m deeply appreciative of all the players who courageously came forward to share their personal and often painful stories.
As a former player, as a coach, as the president of soccer’s national governing body, I am heartbroken by the contents of the report, which make clear that systemic changes are needed at every level of our game. The abuse described in the report is entirely inexcusable and has no place in soccer, on or off the field. Along with everyone at U.S. Soccer, I am squarely focused on the changes we will make to address the report’s findings and make soccer safer for everyone. It will take all of U.S. Soccer’s membership working together to create the kind of change needed to ensure our athletes are safe.
The gravity of these issues requires us to not simply “turn the page.” We can and must use this moment as a forcing function for forward progress. Since I became President of U.S. Soccer in 2020, my priority above all else has been to ensure that athletes across the country have a safe and respectful place to play, work, learn, grow and compete.
As we’ve said from the time we hired Sally Yates and her team at King & Spalding in 2021, we are committed to full transparency and to thorough and immediate action – which is why we are releasing the report in its entirety today, and sharing our plan to address its recommendations.
First, the Federation will immediately 1) establish a new national Office of Participant Safety, 2) publish soccer records from SafeSport’s Centralized Disciplinary Database, and 3) mandate a uniform minimum standard for background checks for all U.S. Soccer members.
Further, we will create a new Participant Safety Taskforce made up of leaders across the sport at all levels and led by athletes themselves. We need our membership across the country to join us in our push for meaningful and lasting change if we are to be effective in transforming soccer’s culture in this country for the long-term.
Finally, a new committee of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors will develop a plan to act on the report’s recommendations as thoroughly and effectively as possible. That group will share its plan publicly by Jan. 31, 2023.
These actions will build on many of the steps we’ve already taken over the last few years to detect, prevent and address various forms of abuse and misconduct. We know that despite the steps we’ve taken, and the next steps we’ve laid out today, we have much, much more work to do to rebuild our sport’s culture into one where everyone feels safe, welcomed and supported.
In closing, I want to again thank the players who led us to this moment. We owe them not only our gratitude, but also our commitment to change.