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Jill Ellis denies receiving Rory Dames complaint from Christen Press

Jill Ellis coached the USWNT from 2014-19. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Former U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis denied receiving complaints from forward Christen Press about Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames.

Ellis, who now serves as San Diego Wave president, also did not recall players bringing verbal abuse by NWSL coaches to her attention during her time with the USWNT, per the NWSL and NWSLPA report released Wednesday. She led the national team from 2014 to 2019.

The league and its players association published the findings of their year-long joint investigation Wednesday afternoon. The report includes new details on “widespread misconduct” in the league, following up on US Soccer’s report on “systemic abuse” in the NWSL.

Sally Yates’ report for US Soccer, released in October, delves into Dames’ issues with the Red Stars. Player surveys reported Dames as “abusive” and “unprofessional” as early as 2014, according to the report, but he remained entrenched as head coach until he finally was pushed to resign after a Washington Post report revealed his misconduct in 2021.

Per Yates’ report, Press lodged a complaint about Dames to Ellis and then-US Soccer president to Sunil Gulati in September 2014.

The report cites a memo sent to Gulati by the USWNT’s legal team on Sept. 15, 2014, prepared ahead of a scheduled meeting between national team players, Gulati, Ellis, and then-NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey. Press called the Red Stars a “hostile work environment” and called out Dames for his “sexist, racist, abusive” remarks to players, the memo notes.

In November 2015, Ellis was emailed results from an NWSL player survey, in which multiple players referred to the Red Stars and to Dames as “abusive,” Yates’ report states.

Ellis denied receiving “any complaints from Press regarding Dames,” and she also did not recall complaints from players about “verbal abuse or racist or sexist comments by NWSL coaches,” according to the NWSL report. She identified Gulati as the main contact for USWNT players.

“She explained that her job responsibilities were limited to coaching the national team, and she did not have a role in oversight of NWSL coaches,” the report reads.