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Four NWSL coaches banned for life facing sexual harassment allegations

On Monday, it was announced that four coaches from the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) were permanently banned from participation as head coaches due to sexual harassment from commissioner Jessica Berman. Those four coaches banned are Christy Holly, Paul Riley, Rory Dames, and Richie Burke. Berman disciplined them after a joint investigative report came out on the matter of the harassment taking place amongst these four coaches.

In 2021, five male head coaches were also fired and forced to resign due to non-soccer reasons, including alleged sexual misconduct, verbal abuse, racist remarks, and enforcing a toxic work culture Beerman made a statement saying "The league will continue to prioritize implementing and enhancing the policies, programs, and systems that put the health and safety of our players first,"

The consequences didn’t stop at the four coaches, as Berman made sure to hand down punishment by bestowing two-year bans to former Utah Royals FC coach Craig Harrington and former Gotham general manager Alyse Lahue. The NWSL Players Association called the steps taken by the league “critical” they added in a statement Monday:

"Today, the NWSL announced disciplinary sanctions for Clubs and individuals who committed or enabled misconduct since the league began in 2013. This marks a critical step towards holding clubs and team leaders accountable for their actions, or inactions, that compromised and betrayed player safety.

"People in positions of power who have perpetrated harm on Players have been relieved of their duties, banned from the League, suspended or fined."

The league continued handing down severe penalties and an emphasis on systemic changes to the Chicago Red Stars in the amount of $1.5 million and a $1 million fine to the Portland Thorns.

Commissioner Berman is doing whatever it takes to ensure a safe work environment for its employees and made a final statement saying "Our league and clubs are committed to making these changes and will do so with continued input from the NWSL Players Association to make the NWSL a league that sets the standard for the future of sports,"

With harsh punishment for these types of actions around the league, let's hope for a better and safer work environment for the NWSL and its players.


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