The US Soccer Federation (USSF) has appointed former player Mana Shim to chair its new Participant Safety Taskforce, which was created following the Yates Report into allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The report was issued on October 3 by former US deputy attorney general Sally Yates and the King & Spalding law firm and found abuse and misconduct have been “systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims” in the NWSL and that the league, its teams, and US Soccer failed to “respond appropriately when confronted with player reports and evidence of abuse.”
Shim, a former NWSL and USA under-23 player, will now head up a taskforce that will work to prevent similar occurrences in the future and better protect players.
In a statement, Shim said: “There’s still so much that needs to be done when it comes to changing the culture of soccer in this country.
“As leader of the taskforce, I am committed to ensuring not only that Yates' recommendations are implemented, but that we push beyond them. We need to find the root causes of our sport’s systemic failures and take action at every level – from the youth game to the professional game.”
The USSF said the Participant Safety Taskforce will “convene leaders in soccer at all levels across the country to coordinate efforts to implement the Yates report’s recommendations and to ensure increased clarity on conduct-related policies and procedures.”
The taskforce will release additional information in the coming days about its mission, membership roster, and timeline for progress.
The fallout from the investigation saw five of 10 coaches in the NWSL in 2021 being fired or step down amid allegations of misconduct, while NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird also resigned.
More recently, Merritt Paulson, owner of the Portland Thorns, stepped down from his role as chief executive of the NWSL club.
Specific revelations in the report were made regarding misconduct at the Thorns, as well as at Racing Louisville, the Chicago Red Stars, and Gotham FC.
Shim played for the Thorns and Houston Dash during her stint in the NWSL and made four appearances for the USA's U23 team in 2012.
Meanwhile, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman is expecting to receive up to 10 official bids for expansion teams by this week’s deadline.
The deadline for NWSL expansion applications is Friday (November 4) and although bids are not expected to be announced publicly, Berman anticipates a "waning out process" to determine which groups get the go-ahead.
Berman also hinted that there are "82 interested groups" in the process.
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