Former Racing Louisville coach Christy Holly was fired for cause in August 2021. (Joe Robbins/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

When former Racing Louisville FC coach Christy Holly took the field in each of the 21 games he coached for the club, he did so without the requisite U.S. Soccer license.

The U.S. Soccer investigation into abuse in the NWSL revealed that not only was Holly fired “for cause” because of player abuse, he also never held the necessary requirements to be a head coach in the first place.

Holly first took the field as a part-time volunteer reserve team coach at Sky Blue FC in 2013, then rocketed up to head coach in just three years. But he never acquired the licensing required to be a head coach in the league — a U.S. Soccer A coaching license — despite coaching 38 games at Sky Blue and then 21 at Racing Louisville.

According to U.S. Soccer’s report, released Monday, the federation had conversations in 2016 about how to go about ensuring Holly was in compliance with league rules. However, upon Holly being asked to “tender his resignation” at Sky Blue FC in 2017, those talks “fizzled.”

Again in 2021, when Holly returned to the NWSL coaching ranks with Racing Louisville, the federation discussed holding a “small-group session” in order to bring him into compliance. However, Holly was fired before such a course could take place.

At both Sky Blue and Racing Louisville, Holly engaged in patterns of abusive coaching behaviors. In Louisville, that abuse elevated to sexual harassment.

Part of the reason Holly was able to hold a coaching job at all, the U.S. Soccer report explains, is that while “all coaches must hold a USSF A coaching license within two years of appointment,” the federation has not been consistent in enforcing the requirement.

Additionally, the report states that former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames also did not hold his A license for eight out of the nine years he coached the club. The report states that “the league applied repeatedly for and received a waiver from USSF.”

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