Last week news of player-abuse allegations was so stunning that the National Women’s Soccer League canceled all of last weekend’s games and accepted the resignation of its commissioner.
The head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team and former coach of the last NSWL club to call Kansas City home said Tuesday that the league will need time to heal and recover.
“It’s not just going to go away like that,” said Vlatko Andonovski, the USWNT coach who led the now-defunct FC Kansas City team to back-to-back league championship five years ago. “It will absolutely have an impact. I am actually worried about the league that I love.”
Andonovski, speaking to reporters on at Children’s Mercy Park on Tuesday, coached FCKC from 2013-17 and became the USWNT’s head coach in 2019.
In an investigative report by The Athletic, players alleged that another former longtime coach, Paul Riley of the North Carolina Courage, used his power and influence to sexually harass players, and in one instance, coerced a player into having sex with him. Riley, who coached three NWSL teams over eight years, denied the allegations and has since been fired.
The NWSL is regarded as the world’s best women’s soccer league, but it has been beset with off-field problems. Four different coaches, all men, have been fired in the last four months for off-field reasons.
“We’re talking about the last event,” Andonovski said. “But there was the one before that, and the one before that, and one before that. It is unfortunate to open up the news and instead of reading about good goals and nice plays and young players’ development, we’re reading about scandals.”