A women’s soccer coach has been fired for giving players painkillers


NEW YORK – The National Women’s Soccer League fired the Portland Thorns athletic trainer on Tuesday after it was found to have illegally administered a controlled substance to female players.

The NWSL, which has been beset by allegations of abuse and misconduct in recent years, has announced that coach Pierre Soubrier has been fired along with Thorns assistant coach Sophie Clough. Soubrier is married to US women’s defender Crystal Dunn. The league said Clow had unwanted contact with the player.

The league also said abuse allegations against former Washington Spirit coach Chris Ward had been filed and he was ineligible to work in the NWSL without the commissioner’s approval. The investigation concluded that Ward had engaged in “negative racial stereotyping of the player”.

Thorns team physician Dr. Brenn Brown said in November that Soubriere had given players an over-the-counter drug containing codeine last month.

Thorns coach Rian Wilkinson resigned last month after leading the team to the NWSL title and owner Merritt Paulson has put the team up for sale. Wilkinson said she was investigated by the NWSL and its players’ union and cleared of any wrongdoing, adding that she and the player developed feelings for each other. for the other but never acted.

Former Attorney General Sally K. An investigation by Yates in October found abuses in the league were systematic, and a report last month by the league and its union found widespread violations.

Soubrier, 35, was born in France, played college football at Quinnipiac, Connecticut and was signed by the Thorns in 2019. Dunn, the 2019 World Cup champion with 128 international caps, met Soubrier when both were in Washington. They got married in December 2018. The NWSL did not find Dunn guilty.

Soubrier, contacted by The Associated Press, declined to comment on the league’s statement at this time.

He was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 7, and an investigation found that “Soubrier repeatedly administered a controlled substance to players without a prescription or medical supervision, in violation of federal and state law and policy. of the league. In addition, Soubrier administered the drug to one of the players without his consent.”

Brown told the investigator that at the coach’s request, in one instance, he gave Soubriere access to a controlled substance to give to a player if needed. Brown then became agitated and took the item.

Soubrier was suspended by the league without pay through the end of the 2023 season, and the NWSL said it will report it to the Oregon Athletic Trainers Board and Board of Certification. The league said the team fired Soubriere and that he is eligible for future employment in the NWSL, subject to Oregon’s rulings and requirements, if “he admits wrongdoing and accepts personal responsibility for his conduct and demonstrates good faith commitment.” correcting his behavior’.

The league said Brown will remain under observation and report to the NWSL’s chief medical officer for three months, after which he will be evaluated.

U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow asked Cone spokesman Neil Bute about the issue, but the organization declined to comment.

According to the league, the Thorns said in November that Clough “made a player uncomfortable by kissing him on the neck during the team’s championship celebration.” The NWSL said the unnecessary contact, which violates league policy, was justified, but that the allegations of bullying behavior were unfounded and “Clough did not step outside the bounds of proper training.”

Clough, 34, has been an assistant coach at the Thorns since 2016. He was also suspended without pay by the league through the 2023 season and was fired by the team.

Clow will be eligible for continued employment with the league if he “attends discrimination, harassment and bullying training, demonstrates a clear commitment to correct behavior and admits wrongdoing and personal responsibility for inappropriate behavior.”

Ward, 43, coached Washington to the 2020 NWSL title before being fired last August during a 15-match winless streak. According to the league, Ruh said players “raised concerns about verbal abuse and emotional abuse” by Ward during a practice session that month. The league said the investigation found Ward “engaged in overly aggressive behavior and harassment through negative racial stereotyping of the player.”

The NSWL said Ward would need the approval of the league commissioner for future employment and “must attend mandatory training on discrimination, harassment, intimidation and racial bias” and “admit wrongdoing and accept personal responsibility for misconduct”.

Clough and Ward could not be reached by the AP.


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