US Soccer investigation into NWSL misconduct nears conclusion

US Soccer says an investigation into alleged abuse and misconduct at the National Women’s Soccer League is expected to be completed early next month.

The investigation, led by former acting US Attorney General Sally Yates, was launched last fall after North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley was accused by two former players of sexual harassment and assault.

Riley was fired and league commissioner Lisa Baird resigned after players’ demands. US Soccer and the NWSL and its players’ association announced separate investigations.

US Soccer issued a brief statement Monday on the status of its investigation: “Last October, US Soccer hired Sally Q. Yates of King & Spalding LLP to lead an independent investigation into allegations of abusive conduct and sexual misconduct in professional soccer by women. This investigation is nearing completion. US Soccer will release the full report in early October once the investigation is complete.”

Riley was among five NWSL coaches who were either fired or resigned last season following allegations of improper conduct.

In Riley’s case, the alleged misconduct went back more than 10 years and included his stint with the Portland Thorns in 2014-15. The league was informed of the allegations, but the Thorns did not make them public. Riley continued to coach elsewhere in the league.

US Soccer said at the time it opened the investigation that Yates would have autonomy in their investigation.

“The scope of our investigation is broad,” Yates said in a statement in February. “We investigate not only allegations of misconduct, but also the factors that may have contributed to, perpetuated or concealed the abuse. Our mission is to find out the truth and make recommendations to ensure future players are treated with respect, wrongdoing is discovered and addressed, and players are protected from harassment or retaliation.”

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