CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames has resigned just ahead of a Washington Post report that claimed Dames had been verbally and emotionally abusive to players on the women’s soccer team.
Dames’ resignation also came shortly after the Red Stars lost the National Women’s Soccer League Championship Game to the Washington Spirit on Saturday.READ MORE: Chicagoan David Kronfeld Shares Advice To Career Success In New Book
Dames’ resignation announcement – dated Sunday but posted early Monday – did not make any mention of abusive conduct.
“For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to help build the Chicago Red Stars into one of the top international clubs. Effective today, I’m refocusing my attention to my family and future endeavors, and I am resigning as coach of the Chicago Red Stars,” Dames said in the statement. “I’d like to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans and the players who I have had the opportunity to work with in their professional soccer careers. I look forward to watching the Chicago Red Stars and the NWSL continue to grow and evolve while supporting their players.”
In the Sunday statement, the team itself praised Dames’ leadership as a coach.
“Under Rory’s leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field,” the team said in the statement. “We continually evaluate our team and front office environment, and given the dynamic change underway in the league, it is time to begin the next chapter of the Red Stars with a search for new leadership of the team.”READ MORE: At Least 24 People Wounded, 1 Killed In Weekend Shootings In Chicago
But on Monday, Washington Post writer Molly Hensley-Clancy reported that a review of interviews and confidential records by the newspaper had indicated that players for years had been accusing Dames of verbal and emotional abuse. Hensley-Clancy reported this included “controlling, berating, and humiliating players, and breaking the boundaries of the player-coach relationship.”
The Washington Post report said instead of reporting their complaints to the NWSL, which has had difficulty controlling abusive behavior, players went a step up to the U.S. Soccer Federation. Still, Dames remained at the helm of the team until Sunday.
Seven players also told the Post that Dames had been emotionally abusive – and five of them sought to be traded or to leave the Red Stars, the newspaper reported.
The Post reported former Red Stars player Christen Press was among those who accused Dames of emotionally abusing players, and she claimed in a formal complaint reviewed by the newspaper that Dames “uses his power and status as the coach to manipulate players and get close to them.”
The newspaper reported Press first reported Dames’ alleged conduct to then-U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and other U.S. Soccer officials. Press told the paper she recalled Gulati dismissed her allegations and called his behavior – which Dames characterized as yelling at players in a way that constituted “harassment” – was normal for a pro coach.MORE NEWS: 1 Person In Critical Condition, 8 Displaced After Fire In Aurora
Several players were also critical of how U.S. Soccer handled the investigation, the Post reported.