Team: Thorns proprietor disclosed coach was fired for trigger

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — When Portland Thorns proprietor Merritt Paulson was contacted in 2019 about former coach Paul Riley’s curiosity in changing into coach of the U.S. girls’s nationwide group, he disclosed Riley had been fired by the group for trigger however Paulson didn’t attempt to form a choice, the group stated.

The group’s assertion got here in response to a report by ESPN that detailed a presentation for Thorns staff by a legislation agency investigating how allegations of sexual coercion and harassment made in opposition to Riley had been dealt with. Riley coached the Thorns in 2014-15 earlier than he was dismissed.

Riley went on to educate the North Carolina Courage till final 12 months, when he was fired after the allegations got here to gentle. He has denied them.

The Thorns knowledgeable the National Women’s Soccer League and U.S. Soccer about Riley’s alleged misconduct when he was fired however didn’t make the rationale public.

Riley was a candidate for the nationwide group’s head teaching job after Jill Ellis stepped down from the group following the 2019 World Cup. Vlatko Andonovski was finally named the group’s coach.

ESPN cited unidentified sources that stated U.S. Soccer was warned that particulars of Riley’s firing would turn out to be public and that Paulson was knowledgeable about it. During the presentation to Thorns staff by the legislation agency, it was revealed Paulson had spoken to Courage proprietor Steve Malik and instructed Riley ought to withdraw, which Riley finally did.

“In 2019, when Merritt Paulson received inquiries from interested parties related to the 2015 termination of Riley, he responded to them and confirmed that Riley had been terminated for cause from the Thorns,” the group stated in a press release. “Paulson initiated none of these conversations but agreed with Riley’s decision to step aside from USWNT consideration when that decision was made and did not seek to manage that outcome.”

The presentation was made in January when the membership’s inner investigation was nonetheless incomplete. The NWSL and the gamers union are additionally investigating the matter, as is U.S. Soccer.

Paulson is proprietor of each the Thorns and the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. Because of the open investigations, the membership stated it can not remark additional.

NWSL and nationwide group star Alex Morgan was important of the Thorns’ response, posting: “We (the players of the NWSL, especially players in Portland) deserve so much better than a boys club protecting their own. Also, that statement in response by @ThornsFC is just pathetic.”


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