CHICAGO, I.L. (WNCN) – The National Women’s Soccer League has canceled its weekend games following the firing of NC Courage head coach Paul Riley on Thursday for accusations of sexual coercion.
League Commissioner Lisa Baird released a statement with the announcement that cited the “gravity of the events of the last week.”
“This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played. I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling,” Baird wrote. “Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect. 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. We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association and this pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue.”
Riley was accused of sexual coercion by former players in both Kansas City and Portland where he coached before being hired by the Courage. A report of these accusations was published by The Athletic on Thursday.
Additionally, the reports stated no current players under Riley have come forward with accusations.
Despite no current accusations, the Courage terminated Riley on Thursday afternoon for the allegations, effective immediately, and named Sean Nahas the team’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The team’s full statement can be found here.
Additionally, the Portland Thorns also released a statement of their own.
“While the findings did not show unlawful activity, they did uncover clear violations of our company policies,” Portland’s statement read. “Based on this, we chose to sever ties with Riley. The findings of the investigation were fully shared with the NWSL league office.”
At this time the NWSL has only canceled this weekend’s games and no other cancellations have been issued.