Former NWSL coach slams league as ‘wake’ after life ban

East North Carolina Courage Coach Paul Riley, who was banned from the National Women’s Soccer League on Monday after multiple investigations into alleged harassment and sexual misconduct, called the league “political” and “upset.”

Riley was among four coaches who received permanent suspensions from the league In a statement issued on Monday.

Riley says he plans to fight “a lot of things” and even with a permanent expulsion from the league, he never wants to return.

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North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley talks to the team after Portland Thorns FC lost to Portland Thorns FC during their quarterfinal match against Portland Thorns FC at the NWSL Challenge Cup on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah.
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“We have a lot of plans ahead to deal with a lot of things,” Riley told WRAL News on Tuesday. “Certainly had no intention of ever coaching in the NWSL again. The league’s political, vigilante, cancellation culture says it all.”

What Rai is actually fighting is yet to be determined.

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A joint investigation team for this NWSL found that the misconduct was “largely systemic in nature” and they made “recommendations on a number of progressive and structural reforms to improve the league’s policies and practices”.

As a result, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman announced four permanent bans as well as the suspensions of coaches Craig Harrington and Alice LaHue. and much more.

“The league will prioritize implementing and improving policies, programs and systems that prioritize the health and safety of our players,” Berman said in the statement. “Those actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players’ ability to succeed and thrive on and off the pitch. As part of our commitment to accountability and resilience, the league has determined that certain issues identified in the additional joint investigative report Corrective action regarding institutions and individuals is appropriate and necessary.”

North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley looks on before the NWSL Challenge Cup quarterfinal match at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah.

North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley looks on before the NWSL Challenge Cup quarterfinal match at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah.
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

As for Riley’s case, a previous report by U.S. Justice Department official Sally Yates was released in October alleging abuse and sexual misconduct that spanned 2015 while he was coaching in Portland, Oregon.

Both Yates’s report and the Joint Investigative Team’s report indicated that the NC Courage did not know the full extent of Riley’s actions before Riley was hired in 2017.

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Two former Portland Thorns players called it a “predator,” according to WRAL News, while another called it a “culture of fear.”

Courage was also fined $100,000 and must keep separate employees from Men’s Tea, which is under the same ownership group.

“We stand firmly with the league, the NWSL Players Association and fellow clubs in making player safety and welfare our top priority,” the organization said in a statement on Monday.

Paul Riley during the 2020 NWSL College Draft at the Baltimore Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Paul Riley during the 2020 NWSL College Draft at the Baltimore Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Jose Arguta/ISI Photo/Getty Images)

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Five of the 10 head coaches in the NWSL last season were either fired or resigned over allegations of misconduct. Commissioner Lisa Baird also resigned, making way for Berman.

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