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Report reveals abuse and sexual misconduct in women's soccer: 'Heartbreaking and deeply troubling'

Sally Yates said abuse is "rooted in a deeper culture in women's soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching."

Published: October 3, 2022 2:30pm

Updated: October 3, 2022 3:50pm

U.S. Soccer released a report Monday detailing allegations of what it calls "systemic abuse" and sexual misconduct that lasted for years in women's professional soccer.

The 319-page report opens by horrifically describing how Louisville player Erin Simon was reportedly told by her coach Christy Holly during a private game review session in 2021 that he would touch her "for every pass [she] f***** up." The two watched the game film and Simon said he "pushed his hands down her pants and up her shirt" as she tried to push him away.

Holly was later terminated from the Racing Louisville soccer team, but he did not publicly state why.

"Abuse in the NWSL [National Women's Soccer League] is rooted in a deeper culture in women's soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players," former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said in her report about the investigation, which looked into allegations against several women's professional coaches through more than 200 interviews. 

U.S. Soccer president and former professional player Cindy Parlow Cone called the report "heartbreaking and deeply troubling."

As a result of the report, U.S. Soccer established a new Office of Participant Safety and agreed to publish records to identify those who have been disciplined, suspended or banned from the league.

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