U.S. women's soccer hid issues for NWSL to succeed, says former player Heather O'Reilly

Julie Foudy reacts after Lisa Baird resigned as commissioner of the NWSL following the latest allegations of abuse within the league. (1:03).
Heather O'Reilly, a former midfielder, said that women's soccer in America "swept a lot under the rug" in order to make the National Women's Soccer League a success.

Former NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird has resigned from her post on the U.S. Soccer board. FIFA opened a preliminary investigation after receiving a report that detailed allegations of misconduct against Paul Riley, former North Carolina Courage coach.

Murray: The scandal surrounding Riley in the NWSL points to bigger league failures

After speaking with more than a dozen of his former players, the Athletic made allegations about Riley's sexual coercion. The Courage and league terminated Riley who reportedly denies any wrongdoing.

O'Reilly, who has three Olympic gold medals as well as the World Cup, stated to the BBC that "I think women's soccer has swept many bad things under the carpet because we want it to succeed."

"We want to keep our personal careers going and there aren't as many professional football players so that I believe is why we have to deal with a lot of things. You just have to accept it as a player.

"The NWSL has very few HR [human resource] employees, and there isn't a hotline for players. This is why so many things happen over time and aren’t controlled."

Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim, former NWSL players, made public their allegations against Riley regarding sexual coercion. They said that they wanted more protection for players.

The NWSL is the most prestigious level of women's soccer in America. It has initiated an independent investigation into how it handles abuse claims and historical complaints about discrimination, harassment, or abuse.

It also established a secure, anonymous reporting platform for staff and players to report misconduct.