Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Wilkinson left Thorns after investigation and later cleared for misconduct

Chicago (USA), 2 December. Rhian Wilkinson resigned this Friday from her position as coach of the reigning United States Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions, the Portland Thorns, after being embroiled in a league investigation into allegations of abuse involving soccer players.

Despite the fact that the investigation did not reveal any irregularities in his dealings with the footballers, Wilkinson decided to step down after a season in which he guided the Thorns to their third league title.

“I want to thank the Portland Thorns, the fans, the coaching staff and most importantly the players for this remarkable season. In Portland I met some amazing people and was fortunate to train some of the best players in the world.” Wilkinson said.

Her resignation came after Wilkinson was implicated in, and followed by, a league investigation, which found systematic abuse at all levels of American women’s soccer.

NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said, “The Portland Thorns and Coach Wilkinson followed all league procedures and cooperated fully with the investigation. The investigative team conducted a thorough study and found no violations of league policy.”

Last October, Merritt Paulson, owner of the NWSL Women’s Soccer League’s Portland Thorns and MLS’s Portland Timbers, announced she was stepping down as CEO of the clubs as a result of the investigation.

“Effective immediately, I am stepping down as ‘CEO’ of the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers and announcing the commencement of a search process for a new ‘CEO’,” Paulson wrote in a statement.

“I apologize to our players, franchises and the Portland community for the mistakes we made. It is devastating to me that my goal of creating a shining example of what women’s sports can be has become synonymous with hateful and violent behavior.” Has gone.” Paulson said.

misconduct, which was also investigated by the union

An independent investigation commissioned by the USSF and conducted by the law firm King & Spalding paints a picture in which verbal and emotional abuse and inappropriate sexual behavior of football players exceeded the limits of “hardcore” training and was normal from the start . for higher categories.

In nearly 200 interviews with former and current players, coaches, club owners or squad personnel, manipulative tactics that were more about abuse of power than game improvement and a worrying pattern of comments with sexual content emerged came. Unwanted touching or forced sexual intercourse.

Teams, leagues and federations “failed to respond adequately not only in systematically dealing with player complaints and signs of abuse, but also when it came to establishing measures to prevent and deal with it,” that p.36 insisted on the document.

The document focuses on three coaches—Paul Riley, Rory Dames and Christy Holley—to illustrate the seriousness of the incident, but recalls that half of the ten teams in the league parted ways with their coaches following complaints from players.

In the Dames, for example, his players in the youth Chicago Eclipse Select recalled that he called her a “whore”, “retard” or “fat ass” and that “she crossed the line sexually” on several occasions.

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