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Statement from Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO, U.S. Soccer Foundation, on Sally Yates Report on Abusive Behavior and Sexual Misconduct in Women’s Professional Soccer

The sexual misconduct, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse against professional athletes across several teams in the NWSL as detailed in the independent report issued by Sally Yates and King & Spalding is horrific and deeply disturbing. The report corroborates and provides new evidence on the mistreatment of players that has been reported by The Athletic, Washington Post, and other media outlets over the past year.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation condemns the abuse, sexual mistreatment, and retaliation of coaches and others against NWSL players and the systemic failures across multiple organizations that allowed this mistreatment and abuse to persist in the league.

We stand by the courageous players who came forward and all other survivors, many of whom may still suffer in silence. It is imperative that athletes at all levels of our game–from the grassroots to the professional leagues—have safe environments in which to play and are led by trained coaches who ensure their well-being on and off the field.

The work of the U.S. Soccer Foundation is grounded in the belief that coaches should not only teach the fundamentals of the game, but also foster a safe physical, mental, and emotional environment for all players, regardless of their background or ability. It is why we have worked to use our sport for good in underserved communities for more than 25 years. And it is why we continue to collaborate with our partners to provide high-quality coach training that emphasizes the coach’s responsibility to provide emotionally, physically, and socially safe environments for their players. We also encourage our local partners to put policies and systems in place that protect players.

We will continue this work to train coaches at the grassroots level in underserved communities in support of the broader effort to ensure that coaches, staff, and organizations that work with players put athlete safety first and foremost.