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NWSL postpones all weekend games; Commissioner Lisa Baird resigns

League calls off games given the gravity of the events of this week’s reports surrounding former head coach North Carolina head coach Paul Riley.

Photo: Cindy Lara Photos

The National Women’s Soccer League postponed all this weekend’s games after this week’s reports surrounding former head coach North Carolina head coach Paul Riley. The Athletic published an article yesterday in which multiple players accuse Riley of sexual coercion, behavior that has spanned 11 years.

The NWSL Players Association asked the league to postpone this weekend’s games to give players space to process the pain caused by the reports. Commissioner Baird and the Board of Governors worked overnight to grant that request.

KC NWSL ownership, including Angie Long, Chris Long, released a statement Friday afternoon:

“Our players must come first. We are committed to leading by example not just to make the team better, but to make our league better. We are striving to set the standard with player-first actions, but there is still hard work to do to create the culture and league our players deserve.

In light of the reporting done by The Athletic on Paul Riley, who has since been fired by the North Carolina Courage, and the systemic issues that need to be addressed, our immediate focus is on providing any support our players need, and ensuring we have player-first processes and policies. Stepping away from matches this weekend is the right thing to do for our players and our staff.”

NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird, also facing calls to resign as she was aware of the situation said:

“This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played. I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling. Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect. Business as usual isn’t our concern right now. Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better. We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association and this pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue.”

On Friday evening, the NWSL received and accepted Lisa Baird’s resignation as its commissioner.

KC NWSL was set to host the Houston Dash this Saturday at Legends Park. A rescheduled date has yet to be announced.