Chicago Red Stars Coach Resigns Day Before Misconduct Allegations

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Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames resigned Sunday, saying he was refocusing his attention on his family and future endeavors. His announcement came just a day before a report by the Washington Post in which players accused Dames of controlling, berating and humiliating them.

CNN reported that Dames' resignation was announced in a news release from the Red Stars dated Sunday, a day after leading his team to the National Women's Soccer League title game. The Red Stars lost Saturday 2-1 to the Washington Spirit.

The statement made no mention of the allegations reported in the Post.

According to the report, players had turned to the US Soccer Federation for help about the alleged abuse instead of the NWSL.

According to interviews and confidential records reviewed by The Post, players had seen Dames cross a line into what they believed was verbal and emotional abuse, and his actions broke the boundaries of the player-coach relationship.

In a statement Monday, the Red Stars said they stood with the players "who are fiercely advocating for change, and we are committed to doing our part to ensure a safe environment" for players, staff, volunteers and fans.

When Dames' resignation was announced, neither the team nor the coach referenced the allegations.

"For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to help build the Chicago Red Stars into one of the top international clubs," Dames said in the team's news release. "Effective today, I'm refocusing my attention to my family and future endeavors, and I am resigning as coach of the Chicago Red Stars."

In the same statement posted on the Stars' website, the team said that "under Rory's leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field," adding that it was time to begin a new chapter with the search for new leadership.

The Post reported one of the players who complained about Dames was Christen Press, a member of the US Women's National Team and a former Red Stars player. Press said she told then-US Soccer president Sunil Gulati her concerns about Dames in 2014, and she filed a formal complaint to US Soccer about Dames in 2018, CNN reported. 

The NWSL Players Association said in a statement that the system has failed the players. "Nothing short of a complete transformation of our league will suffice," the association said.

Last month, the NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned and the league called off weekend matches following a report by The Athletic detailing allegations of sexual coercion and misconduct against Paul Riley, who coached three NWSL franchises over eight seasons. Riley in an email to The Athletic denied the claims, CNN reported. 

In addition, the CEO and managing partner of the Washington Spirit resigned and referenced a recent request by the players, who cited concerns over workplace environment, as part of the reason for stepping down.

FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, and US Soccer have each announced they are investigating.

On Oct. 29, the players association said the league had agreed to meet all the players' demands for cultural changes and transparency following the earlier reports of sexual misconduct.

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