Ex-player Mana Shim leads US Soccer Abuse Task Force

Mana Shim, a former National Women’s Soccer League and U.S. national under-23 team player, will chair the U.S. Soccer Federation’s task force to prevent abuse and harassment of women that has proven systemic in the sport.

The USSF created a Participant Safety Task Force following a report released Oct. 3 by former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates.

“There is still so much to do to change the culture of football in this country,” Shim said in a statement on Monday. “I believe we have an opportunity right now to protect players and set a new standard for all sports, we have no time to waste.

Five of the 10 NWSL coaches in 2021 have been fired or resigned over allegations of misconduct, and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird has resigned.

“Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture of women’s football, starting with the youth leagues, which normalizes verbally abusive practices and blurs the lines between coaches and players,” Yates wrote.

“For too long, leaders across the football ecosystem — including at US Soccer — have failed to take responsibility for protecting players,” Shim said. “I believe in the ability to change. As leader of the task force, I am committed to not only that Yates’ recommendations are implemented, but that we push beyond them. We need to find the root causes systemic failures in our sport and take action at all levels, from youth play to professional play.

Shim, 31, was a midfielder for the Portland Thorns (2013-17) and Houston Dash (2018-19) and also played for Japan’s Iga Kunoichi in 2015 and Sweden’s Växjö in 2017. She made four appearances for the USA Under-23 team. in 2012.

Yates recommended disclosure of dismissal and discipline by teams at the USSF and NWSL, a database of complaints and findings, a public list of discipline, the elimination of nondisclosure agreements, and of non-disparagement and the annual recertification of coaches and certification of the accuracy of the background. information.

She also recommended the selection of licensed coaches, limited waivers from licensing requirements for NWSL coaches, revocation of licenses for disciplined persons, adoption by the NWSL of an investigation protocol approved by the USSF, a requirement for NWSL owners, staff and players to participate in investigative interviews and produce relevant documents. and a mandate from the NWSL for annual training of players and coaches on policies involving verbal and emotional abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment and retaliation.

She also said a coach should not serve as a general manager and should not have sole authority over trades, housing and medical decisions, and that the USSF, NWSL and teams establish a manager of player safety who will file quarterly reports.

She said the USSF should consider increasing the capital requirements of the NWSL 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 coach conduct.

“The Participant Safety Task Force will bring together football leaders at all levels across the country to coordinate efforts to implement the recommendations of the Yates report and ensure greater clarity on related policies and procedures. driving,” Shim said.

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This story was originally published October 31, 2022 10:51 p.m.

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