Report: Women’s Soccer League Officials Ousted After Accusations Against Ex-Coach

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) board of directors has fired commissioner Lisa Baird and general counsel Lisa Levine in the wake of a report detailing allegations of misconduct against former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley, The Athletic reported Friday. 

NWSL did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Athletic on Thursday outlined allegations of sexual coercion and misconduct by Riley, who led the Courage to back-to-back NWSL championships in 2018 and 2019, after speaking to more than a dozen players he coached since 2010. 

Riley was terminated by the Courage and the league. 

“I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling. Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect,” Baird said in a written statement hours earlier while announcing that the league was canceling its weekend slate of games. 

“Business as usual isn’t our concern right now. Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better.” 

The report sent shock waves through the sport, and the players’ association demanded sweeping changes across the league, as some of soccer’s most prominent figures — including two-time World Cup winners and NWSL players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan — voiced their outrage. 

The Athletic report came days after another head coach in the league, Richie Burke of the Washington Spirit, was terminated with cause. He had previously been suspended following allegations of abuse detailed by The Washington Post.

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