The Chicago Red Stars and the other member teams of the National Women’s Soccer League have postponed this weekend's matches in wake of sexual abuse allegations against the former coach of the North Carolina Courage.
The Red Stars planned to face the Orlando Pride Saturday and expected to host the team's biggest crowd in two years, but Friday said that it would be unfair to ask players to compete this weekend.
"After discussions between the league and the NWSLPA, it was decided that due to the horrific news, regarding the sexual and emotional abuse inflicted on players by a long-time head coach, it would be unfair to ask players to compete this weekend," the team said in a statement. "Please note that this coach has never been associated with the Red Stars organization."
The Red Stars said the match will be rescheduled, and details will be shared once confirmed.
The North Carolina Courage fired its head coach Paul Riley Thursday after accusations of sexual coercion surfaced earlier in the week. Riley has denied the allegations.
The NWSL was established in 2012 as the successor to Women’s Professional Soccer. In addition to the Courage, the NWSL has nine other teams, including the Houston Dash, the Orlando Pride and the Washington Spirit.
The Athletic on Thursday morning detailed the allegations after interviewing more than a dozen athletes who played under Riley since 2010.
Former soccer player Sinead Farrelly said she had experienced “multiple incidents where she felt coerced into having sex” with her coach, according to The Athletic. Riley coached Farrelly during her time with the Philadelphia Independence, New York Fury and Portland Thorns. Farrelly told The Athletic, “I felt under his control.”
Following the allegations, the Red Stars announced it will implement additional layers of protection to ensure a safe environment for players and staff.
"The abuse of power must stop. Looking the other way must stop. Not listening to the victims must stop," the team added in its statement. "We, the entire Red Stars organization, are committed to making that happen."