NWSL coach Rory Dames accused of misconduct by women’s youth players

A number of allegations have been made against NWSL coach Rory Dames regarding accusations of verbal and physical abuse which includes misconduct from the soccer coach.

One of those is Megan Cnota, who has shared her story of abuse from two decades ago in Chicago.

“We tried to make it come to light 25 years ago, and nobody believed those teenagers,” Cnota told The Washington Post in February 2022.

Dames was investigated by police in 1998 after an accusation of inappropriately touching a minor, and other accusations accused him of making inappropriate comments and regularly talking about women’s bodies and sex.

Grooming accusations

One claim in particular alleges that Dames started a relationship with the player in question, who has remained anonymous, when they were just 14 years old.

Investigations remain ongoing, despite an investigation from the US Soccer Federation in 2018 which cleared Dames following two complaints from NWSL players.

Dames’ lawyer reacts

“Mr. Dames has a reputation as an excellent soccer coach over 25 years of coaching thousands of soccer players,” Susan Bogart, the lawyer of Dames, reacted.

“With the exception of a few players disgruntled for one reason or another, the vast majority of players have thanked Mr. Dames for investing in them as players.

“U.S. Soccer cleared Mr. Dames, issued no sanctions against him and expressly permitted him to continue coaching.”

Dames worked with the Chicago Eclipse Select from 1997 to 2021, and was employed by the Chicago Red Stars from 2011 to 2021.

In 2019, SafeSport opened an investigation into Dames‘ relationship with his wife Sarah Uyenishi, who played in Dames‘ team from the age of 14 before they eventually married and had two children.

Megan Rapinoe blasts abuse cases on USWNT

U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe described as horrible the independent report published last Monday that revealed “systematic abuse” within professional women’s soccer in the United States.

The report, released by attorney Sally Q. Yates, states that Portland Thorns owner Merrit Paulson and Chicago Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler have allegations of abuse.

At a press conference prior to the USWNT-England match, Rapinoe said she was tired of players having to come out and talk about these types of abuse cases instead of soccer.

Megan Rapinoe sees “horrible” report on abuse in U.S. women’s professional soccer.

“It’s horrible. Even when you know about it, it’s horrible to read it over and over again. It’s been difficult for the players, some of them play for those clubs, they’ve been coached by those coaches, and they’ve probably been abused in one way or another by some of those coaches or in some of those environments, or different environments, young environments, whatever it is,” Rapinoe said Thursday at a press conference ahead of her national team’s friendly against England.

“I don’t think Merritt Paulson is fit to own that team (Portland), I don’t think Arnim Whisler is fit to own Chicago. We need those people gone. Those people are in positions that have responsibilities and they did not fulfill those responsibilities. None of those people have proven that they deserve to be in this beautiful game,” Rapinoe added.

Rapinoe shared her experience with coaches accused of sexual and emotional abuse

“Rory [Dames] has been a jerk for as long as I’ve known him, from the first second I heard him on the sideline the first season I played. Paul [Riley] is the same way. I didn’t know Christy Holly personally, but everything I heard about him was horrible. I feel like we know, unfortunately we’ve had a little bit of practice and I think we’re used to historically being talked about in a negative or condescending way and that’s something we’ve had to overcome.”

USWNT captain after abuse scandal: Those who hid it should be gone

Becky Sauerbrunn, captain of the USWNT, has called for the resignation of all those club owners and executives in the NWSL who covered up the scandal of “systematic abuse” of players that has come to light this week following the release of a court report commissioned by the US Soccer Federation (USSF).

In her video statement, Sauerbrunn acknowledged that the players are not at all happy with how the whole thing has been handled.

Serious words

“We are horrified, and heartbroken, and frustrated, and exhausted, and really really angry,” said Sauerbrunn.

“We are angry that it took a third-party investigation. We are angry that it took an article in The Athletic and The Washington Post and numerous others.

“We’re angry that it took over 200 people sharing their trauma to get to this point right now.

“And we’re angry that it took Mana [Shim] and Sinead [Farrelly] and Erin [Simon] and Kaiya [McCullough] and Alex [Morgan] and Christen [Press] and Sam [Johnson] to repeatedly ask people in authority to take their abuse and their concerns seriously.”

Abuse and sexual misconduct

The independent investigation (by the law firm King & Spalding) paints a picture in which verbal and emotional abuse of female soccer players and inappropriate sexual behaviors exceed the boundaries of “hardcore” coaching and are commonplace from junior to senior levels.

Nearly 200 interviews with retired and active players, coaches, club owners and staff revealed manipulative tactics that were more about abuse of power than improving the game. And a disturbing pattern of sexual comments, unwanted touching and coercive sex.

Calls for mass resignations

In the face of such revelations, the veteran Portland Thorns FC player has stepped forward on behalf of all female soccer players across the country calling for the resignations of all leaders and executives who hid the abuses for years.

“And I think for so long, this has always fallen on the players to demand change and that is because the people in authority and decision-making positions have repeatedly failed to protect us, and they have failed to hold themselves and each other accountable.

“What, and who, are you actually protecting? And what values are you upholding?

“You have failed in your stewardship. And it’s my opinion that every owner and executive and U.S. Soccer official who has repeatedly failed the players and failed to protect the players, who have hidden behind legalities, and have not participated fully in these investigations, should be gone.”