NWSL postpones weekend matches pending Players Association meeting over misconduct accusations

Because of allegations of sexual misconduct against an ex-coach, the National Women's Soccer League won't be playing the scheduled games this weekend.
Friday's matches were postponed, including Washington at North Carolina, Gotham FC and Louisville. Saturday's slate featured Orlando at Chicago and Houston at Kansas City, and Reign FC and Portland.

Friday's decision by the NWSL was not made clear. The NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird stated in a statement that the decision was reached with the National Women's Soccer League Players Association.

On Thursday, the North Carolina Courage fired Paul Riley as coach amid allegations of sexual coercion and insensitive comments about players' weights and sexual orientations.

"This week and much of the season have been extremely traumatic for our players, staff, and I accept full responsibility for the part I played. Baird released a statement saying that he was sorry for the suffering of so many. We are aware of the trauma and have decided to not take the field this weekend in order to allow everyone to reflect.

"Business as usual" is not our concern at the moment. The entire league needs to heal and the players deserve better. This decision was made in collaboration with the players association. We will take a pause while we work together to change the culture of the league, something that has been long overdue.

The Athletic published an investigation that interviewed more than 12 players from each Riley-coached team since 2010. Two of these players were named in the report with allegations against Riley.

On Thursday, a club statement stated: "In light today's reports the North Carolina Courage have terminated coach Paul Riley effective immediately following serious allegations about misconduct."

Riley wrote to The Athletic in an email that the majority of the allegations were "completely false."

Racing Louisville issued the following statement after Friday's match against Gotham FC was delayed.

Racing's president Brad Estes stated that he was proud of the courage shown by those who shared their stories in order to eradicate the league's reprehensible behavior. "We joined the NWSL in part to empower women in our local community. We see the need to raise standards in women's soccer. To make the changes these athletes need, it will take hard work and humility. We are more committed than ever to this effort and fully support our athletes."

The shockwaves caused by the report swept across soccer. As some of the most prominent soccer figures, including Megan Rapinoe (two-time World Cup winner) and Alex Morgan (NWSL player), voiced outrage, the players' association demanded that drastic changes be made to the league.

The Athletic's report was issued days after Richie Burke, a Washington Spirit head coach, had been terminated for cause. Following allegations of abuse, he had been previously suspended.

This report used information from The Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.