Women’s professional soccer team Orlando Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell and first assistant coach Sam Greene have been dismissed for “engaging in retaliatory conduct” towards players who they believed had made or supported misconduct allegations against them, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced Monday.
This comes just a week after a bombshell independent report found systemic abuse and misconduct within women’s professional soccer in the United States, including a failure by the NWSL, under the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), to provide a safe environment for players.
In March, an investigation by counsel to the Orlando Pride was launched into allegations of verbal abuse and improper favoritism towards players by Cromwell, and allegations of improper favoritism towards players by Greene, the NWSL said.
The investigation led to written warning for both coaches, the NWSL said in an outline of the investigation.
In May, the Joint Investigative Team of the league and its players association (NWSLPA) received reports that Cromwell and Greene were engaging in retaliatory conduct towards players they suspected of initiating, participating in, and who were supporting the original investigation.
A second investigation by the NWSL/NWSLPA Joint Investigative Team found that Cromwell and Greene behaved in a way that “discouraged reporting and fostered a general fear of retaliation,” including seeking to waive or trade players, the league said in a statement Monday.
The league has terminated their contracts, effective immediately, according to Orlando Pride chairman Mark Wilf.
The league and players association’s investigation also found that goalkeeper coach Aline Reis did not fully cooperate with the investigation, and was “pressuring players to share favorable information with investigators.”
Meanwhile, the entire Pride organization will undergo mandatory training regarding retaliation, discrimination, harassment, and bullying, the NWSL added.
Cromwell, Greene, Reis and Assistant Coach Michelle Akers raised complaints that they were subjected to various forms of misconduct – claims a third party investigator found were “unsubstantiated,” the NWSL added.
Cromwell responded to the news calling the investigation “biased and incomplete,” adding that her “character and integrity have been mischaracterized.”
“There is no doubt that there has been a culture of abuse in the NWSL. I acknowledge the importance of due process and the need for the NWSL to investigate all claims.
“However, the abusive behavior in the NWSL goes beyond just the players. All of the women on my coaching staff have raised serious concerns about the work environment and I will be reviewing all legal options,” she said.
Cromwell and Greene are ineligible to work in the NWSL in any capacity unless or until approved by the Commissioner.
Reis has been placed on unpaid administrative leave until she completes a series of steps to be reinstated, the NWSL said. CNN has reached out to Reis and Greene for comment.