Rory Dames accused of verbal and emotional abuse after resigning as Red Stars head coach

Former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames has been accused of verbal and emotional abuse by several players.

The news comes one day after he resigned as coach of the  National Women’s Soccer League team.

Rory Dames announced his departure from the team on Sunday November 21, less than 48 hours after the Red Stars lost the NWSL championship final 2-1 to Washington Spirit.

In the news release issued just before midnight local time, the Red Stars said Dames had stepped down and a search for a replacement would begin, but did not acknowledge any ongoing abuse allegations.

“Under Rory’s leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field,”  the release said, attributing the quote to “the Chicago Red Stars” rather than a club owner or executive.

“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.”

The Washington Post revealed on Monday that his exit was prompted by an investigation into his behavior. Several players, including USWNT star Christen Press had reported Dames to the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2018, according to the report.

“I think Rory emotionally abuses players,” Press wrote in a formal complaint seen by the Post. “He doesn’t have a safe distance between himself and his players. He uses his power and status as the coach to manipulate players and get close to them.”

Since the Post’s report became public, the team has released another statement to show support for the players.

“We stand with the players who are fiercely advocating for change, and we are committed to doing our part to ensure a safe environment for the league’s players, staff, volunteers and fans.

“In conjunction with our players, the Chicago Red Stars several weeks ago initiated an independent review of player health and safety and the team’s culture and work environment. We intend to implement any recommendations in that review that will strengthen our ability to empower our players, to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and to foster an environment of continual growth.”

The NWSL Players Association (NWSLPA) also released a statement in support of players who brought allegations against Dames.

“This type of coaching has no place in the NWSL, youth soccer or anywhere else. We stand with Christen Press, Jen Hoy, Sam Johnson and any player who comes forward to speak out against abuse of any kind,” the statement read.

“We have said it before and will say it again now: the system has failed us. Through our investigation, we will seek out the root causes of these systematic failures to prevent this from happening to future generations.

“Nothing short of a complete transformation of our league will suffice.”

Dame’s exit marked the ninth coaching change of the year for the National Women’s Soccer League in a season defined by turmoil. He also becomes the fifth male coach ousted for alleged misconduct.