US Soccer issues reform plan following NWSL abuse scandal

US Soccer will adopt all 12 recommendations made after an investigation found widespread misconduct

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The United States football federation will introduce a more thorough vetting system for coaches and officials as part of reforms after an investigation found widespread misconduct in the top-flight women’s league (NWSL).

An independent investigation led by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates published its results in October, finding abuse and sexual misconduct spanned multiple teams and coaches and that US Soccer failed to protect players.

US Soccer said on Monday it would adopt all 12 recommendations from the Yates report and announced its “Safe Soccer” system, which aims for a more proactive approach to vetting individuals.

“Compliance with the new program will be a multi-year journey, first being piloted by U.S. Soccer staff and select members before expanding to US Soccer licensed coaches and referees, and later to all adult participants in the soccer ecosystem,” the statement read.

The findings of a separate investigation commissioned by the NWSL and its players union released in December were broadly in line with the Yates report.

The recommendations also included a requirement to disclose misconduct to the league and the federation to ensure coaches do not move between teams.


“While we have much more work ahead, I believe the steps we’re sharing today will make our game significantly safer and I look forward to seeing it through,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said.

The implementation committee has proposed amendments to US Soccer’s professional league standards for all affiliated leagues, which include the NWSL and men’s top-flight Major League Soccer.

One of the proposed changes would “prohibit the use of non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements used to shield information about abuse allegations”.

The amendments would also require sanctioned leagues and teams to conduct annual training on abuse and misconduct, employ player safety officers and compile annual safety reports.


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