Complaints against ex-coach Rory Dames mishandled by Red Stars, NWSL and U.S. Soccer, according to new report

Dames declined requests to be interviewed for this investigation.

SHARE Complaints against ex-coach Rory Dames mishandled by Red Stars, NWSL and U.S. Soccer, according to new report
Former Red Stars coach Rory Dames.

Former Red Stars coach Rory Dames.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Two months after the release of former U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates’ report detailing systemic abuse in the NWSL the NWSL/NWSLPA have released their joint investigation.

Similar to Yates’ report, the Red Stars are detailed throughout.

The 128-page report prepared by two law firms, Covington and Burling LLP which was engaged by the NWSL, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP which was engaged by the NWSLPA, shares similar accounts of abuse and misconduct that took place within the Red Stars organization.

After detailing their investigative process and pertinent background details on the league, the report spends 83 pages breaking down observations and findings. Reports by Christen Press that former coach Rory Dames engaged in verbal and emotional abuse going all the way back to 2014 were found to be mishandled and largely ignored by U.S. Soccer, the NWSL and Red Stars majority owner Arnim Whisler.

In October of 2014, after Press had originally shared concerns about Dames, a version of her comments were sent to the Red Stars by then-NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey.

According to the report, the comments shared included: “The head coach was disrespectful to players and created a hostile work environment. He used a lot of language that was inappropriate and abrasive and his coaching style in general was not good, making sexist, racist, abusive, and other prejudicial remarks to players. His training sessions were inconsistent in intensity based on his mood.”

Whisler responded to these comments via email saying, “one or both of the [US]WNT players did not like [Dames] — probably because they did not start or play the way they wanted to. The senior [US]WNT players absolutely want this league to shut down so they don’t have as much competition for their spots and so they can make more money overseas.”

Dames offered his resignation following the original complaints made in 2014, but Whisler refused to accept it.

Press made another complaint regarding Dames’ behavior to U.S. soccer in 2018, resulting in an investigation. Within a few weeks of the investigation being opened, another player submitted another complaint about Dames to the NWSL. The league began its own investigation but stopped at the direction of U.S. Soccer.

In September 2019, the law firm hired by U.S. Soccer completed its investigation and ultimately determined the league needed to establish standards of conduct for NWSL coaches and educate them on those standards. No action was taken against Dames.

The NWSL and NWSLPA’s joint investigation detailed similar misconduct that was previously reported by Yates and outlets like the Athletic and the Washington Post. According to the report, Dames focused on yelling at fringe players. Players recounted feeling like Dames went after players who he felt didn’t have the power to report him.

Dames declined requests to be interviewed for this investigation.

Whisler officially began the process of selling his stake in the franchise the last week of November.

The Latest
The man, 21, was driving a motorcycle when he ran a red light and ran into a Jeep SUV, police said.
Roughly 60% percent of the state’s 102 counties do not have a full-time public defender. That needs to change for Illinois to meet its legal obligation to provide criminal defendants with legal counsel.
His wife doesn’t mind his marijuana use but wishes he’d stop lying about it.
Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.
Expanded weekend services, including road tests and written tests, will be offered June 1 through Aug. 31, historically the busiest season for teens looking to get behind the wheel.