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McCall Zerboni, Erin McLeod join calls for ‘systemic’ change in NWSL


McCall Zerboni and Erin McLeod joined other NWSL players in calling for accountability at the league level amid widespread allegations of misconduct.

In an interview with NBC News on Sunday, the two demanded change days after The Athletic reported on former players accusing Paul Riley of sexual coercion and emotional abuse and the North Carolina Courage fired Riley in response.

“I definitely think it’s systemic and no one in a position of power that is supposed to protect us and do the right thing has righted the ship,” Zerboni said on the show. “We need more structured standards, policy, background checks. We need to be treated with basic human rights.”

McLeod echoed Zerboni’s remarks, calling people who knew of the abuse “complicit.”

“We need to make change and get rid of those people,” she said.

McLeod added that the misconduct former NWSL players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim detailed to The Athletic isn’t new.

“They came forward in 2015 saying exactly what they did in that article,” McLeod said. “What are we saying to young players, 12 or 13 years old, about what we are going to allow to happen to our athletes in this country? That’s unforgivable.”

On Sunday, the NWSL announced a “commitment to systemic transformation” in a season where multiple coaches have been accused of misconduct. NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned from her position on Friday as the league continues to deal with the fallout. FIFA and US Soccer have both launched investigations into the allegations.

The league did not play any games over the weekend as they begin to address the systemic issues at hand.