January 31 – The United States soccer federation is to 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).
U.S. Soccer has introduced a Safe Soccer programme that includes a requirement to disclose any wrongdoing to the league and the federation to ensure coaches do not move between teams.
It aims to overhaul the criteria for participation from youth level to the professional leagues covering safety training, background checks and annual reviews.
“While we have much more work ahead, I believe the steps we’re sharing will make our game significantly safer and I look forward to seeing it through,” said U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone
An independent investigation led by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates published its results last October, finding abuse and sexual misconduct spanned multiple teams and coaches and that U.S. Soccer failed to protect players.
U.S. Soccer said on Monday it would adopt all 12 recommendations from the Yates report as part of the Safe Soccer system, which aims for a more proactive approach.
“Compliance with the new programme will be a multi-year journey, first being piloted by U.S. Soccer staff and select members before expanding to U.S. Soccer licensed coaches and referees, and later to all adult participants in the soccer ecosystem,” a 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.
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