MLS announces investigation into misconduct claims against former Vancouver Whitecaps coach

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Major League Soccer announced it would open an independent investigation into the Vancouver Whitecaps for the organization’s handling of sexual coercion accusations made against former women’s team coach Hubert Busby Jr. in 2011.

The statement, released on Friday, says, “The investigation will include a review of the club’s internal processes and overall culture at the time as well as recommendations on preventative measures to ensure that all players and staff under the Whitecaps organization umbrella work in a safe environment, free of all forms of harassment and fear of retaliation.”

The Whitecaps women’s club played in the USL W-League until 2012.

Former player Malloree Enoch detailed her account to The Guardian, telling Matthew Hall that Busby Jr. solicited sex from her during the Whitecaps’ recruiting process. Enoch recounts three occasions from 2010 to 2011 in which Bugsby Jr. propositioned her to stay in his hotel room. On the third occasion, Enoch recalls, “He was on all fours fully on the bed. He was definitely aroused. He tried to kiss and touch me,” Enoch told Hall. “The light was not on but I don’t think he had his shirt on. I had to negotiate to get him off the bed. I told him I wasn’t interested.”

Enoch signed with the Whitecaps as a player in 2011 and formally complained about Busby Jr.’s conduct to Vancouver executive Dan Lenarduzzi at the end of the season. Other players, including then captain Kelsey Hood, also wrote to Lenarduzzi with complaints about Busby’s conduct.

The club ended up parting ways with Busby, initially stating in 2011 that “the contract of women’s team head coach Hubert Busby Jr. has expired and will not be renewed.”

Now, the Whitecaps are acknowledging that an investigation into misconduct led to Busby’s departure from the club.

After his stint in Vancouver, Busby went on to coach the Seattle Sounders Women from 2013-2018 and is the current head coach of the Jamaican women’s national team. When asked for comment by The Guardian, Busby denied all allegations made against him, saying the Whitecaps offered him a contract renewal in 2011 but that the two parties couldn’t come to terms.