Former Washington Spirit coach Kris Ward has been barred indefinitely from working in the NWSL, the league announced Tuesday.
The Spirit fired Ward in August after what the team described as an “incident at the training grounds,” during which Ward confronted a player during a practice session. After an investigation, the NWSL banned Ward, stating in its release that the coach “is ineligible to work in the league in any capacity unless or until approved by the commissioner.”
Washington players had raised concerns about “verbal abuse and emotional misconduct” by Ward, which led the NWSL to investigate. While the league did not provide details of the incident, it found the coach had directed “overly aggressive behavior and harassment,” including racist stereotypes, toward a player.
In order to be eligible for future employment in the NWSL, Ward would have to undergo mandatory discrimination, harassment, bullying and racial bias training.
Additionally, he would be required to “demonstrate a sincere commitment to correcting his behavior and acknowledge wrongdoing and accept personal responsibility for inappropriate conduct,” and he would need to be approved to rejoin the league by the commissioner.
The Spirit have since hired Mark Parsons as head coach. Parsons previously led the team from 2013-15.