The National Women’s Soccer League has canceled all games this weekend, one day after North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley was fired following allegations of sexual coercion.
NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement on Friday the decision was made in correlation with the NWSL players’ association.
“This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played. I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling,” Baird said. “Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect. Business as usual isn’t our concern right now. Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better.
“We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association and this pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue.”
The NWSL did not address whether the games canceled will be rescheduled.
On Thursday, a statement from the players, staff and principal owners of North Carolina Courage confirmed Riley’s firing — after multiple players came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by the longtime coach. The team named Sean Nahas as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Courage players, including Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim, detailed Riley’s alleged inappropriate behavior in graphic interviews published by The Athletic on Thursday. The players claimed Riley’s alleged behavior went on within multiple teams and leagues since 2010.
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