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USSF hires former Attorney General to investigate NWSL abuse

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is leading the investigation.

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The United States Soccer Federation has announced a full independent investigation into abuse allegations within the National Women’s Soccer League. The lead investigator named to the job is former acting Attorney General of the United States, Sally Yates.

Under the Obama administration, Yates rose to the rank of Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice. She briefly served as the acting Attorney General after then Attorney General Loretta Lynch stepped down when the Trump Administration took office. Yates served as the acting head of the DOJ for a mere 10 days; she was replaced after refusing to enforce the executive order that implemented the initial Muslim Ban policy.

Yates represents basically the highest profile attorney USSF could possibly hire. This is someone with a wealth of experience in overseeing in-depth investigations. Assigning her this role signals that USSF is taking this seriously. Very, very seriously.

And given the scale of the allegations, such a serious attitude is absolutely necessary. Meg Linehan of the Athletic uncovered allegations of a decade of abuse involving at least several players, from Paul Riley, North Carolina Courage’s now-former head coach. But Riley represents merely one case. Over the course of a year, 4 coaches in NWSL have been fired for cause following allegations of abuse. Another was similarly forced to resign over the summer. That represents half the league, an indication of wide-ranging faults, faults that systematically allow for vulnerable players to be harmed. Based on USSF’s statement regarding the investigation, Yates will have the authority to investigate all of this.

This is, of course, an ongoing story. I encourage everyone to review the Athletic’s coverage; Linehan’s excellent coverage is accompanied by former SSFC manager Stephanie Yang. Here at SB Nation, you can count on All for XI to cover the story as it develops, as well as their regular coverage of the league.