Where EAST meets the Northwest
PROTECTING THE PLAYERS. Mana Shim, a former player for the National Womenís
Soccer League, will chair the U.S. Soccer Federationís taskforce to prevent the
abuse and harassment of women that was found to be systemic in the sport. (AR
Photo/Jan Landis, File)
From The Asian Reporter, V32, #11 (November 7, 2022), pages 9 & 10.
Former player Mana Shim heads U.S. Soccer task force on abuse
CHICAGO (AP) ó Mana Shim, a former player for the National Womenís Soccer
League (NWSL) and the U.S. under-23 national team, will chair the U.S. Soccer
Federationís (USSF) taskforce to prevent the abuse and harassment of women that
was found to be systemic in the sport.
The USSF created a participant safety taskforce following a report issued on
October 3 by former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates.
"Thereís still so much that needs to be done when it comes to changing the
culture of soccer in this country," Shim said in a statement. "I believe we have
an opportunity in this moment to protect players and set a new standard for all
sports. We donít have any time to waste."
Five of 10 coaches in the NWSL in 2021 were fired or stepped down amid
allegations of misconduct, and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned.
"Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in womenís soccer, beginning
in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries
between coaches and players," Yates wrote.
"For far too long, leaders across the soccer ecosystem ó including at U.S.
Soccer ó have not taken responsibility for protecting players," Shim said. "I
believe in the capacity for change. As leader of the taskforce, I am committed
to ensuring not only that Yatesís recommendations are implemented, but that we
push beyond them. We need to find the root causes of our sportís systemic
failures and take action at every level from the youth game to the professional
Shim, 31, was a midfielder for the Portland Thorns (2013-2017) and Houston
Dash (2018-2019) and also played for Japanís Iga Kunoichi in 2015 and Swedenís
VšxjŲ in 2017. She made four appearances for the U.S. under-23 team in 2012.
Yates recommended disclosure of termination and discipline by teams to the
USSF and the NWSL, a database of complaints and findings, a public listing of
discipline, the elimination of nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements,
and annual recertification of coaches and attestation to the accuracy of
She also recommended screening of licensed coaches, limited waivers of
licensing requirements for NWSL coaches, revoking licenses for disciplined
individuals, the NWSL adopting a USSF-approved investigation protocol, a
requirement that NWSL owners, staff, and players participate in investigative
interviews and produce relevant documents, and an NWSL mandate for annual
training of players and coaches on policies involving verbal and emotional
abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment, and retaliation.
She additionally said a coach should not serve as general manager and should
not have sole authority over trades, housing, and medical decisions, and that
the USSF, NWSL, and teams establish a player safety officer who will file
She said the USSF should consider whether to increase NWSL capital
requirements and should institute an annual review of team culture and coaching
practices and penalize leagues that do not meet standards. She said the USSF
should require the NWSL to conduct and review annual player surveys that include
questions about coaching conduct.
"The participant safety taskforce will convene leaders in soccer at all
levels across the country to coordinate efforts to implement the Yates reportís
recommendations and to ensure increased clarity on conduct-related policies and
procedures," Shim said.
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