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Carlos Cordeiro says he was unaware of Christen Press’ 2018 complaint

(Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Former U.S. Soccer president and current candidate Carlos Cordeiro responded to a letter Sunday from nine U.S. women’s national team stars. In it, Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Sam Mewis, Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn directly implicated the federation in the most recent allegations of misconduct leveled at former Red Stars coach Rory Dames.

Cordeiro wrote in his reply that he was “disgusted” by the allegations.

“You—and every player who has ever been hurt and whose voice has not been heard—are right to be especially angry,” he continued. “No player—anywhere, anytime, at any level—should ever be subjected to that kind of abuse, which inflicts pain and trauma that lasts a lifetime. It’s appalling, and it has no place in soccer or in our society.”

Cordeiro called on the findings of the U.S. Soccer investigation to be made public. He also directly addressed Christen Press’ comments in the initial Washington Post report. The USWNT star said she expressed her concerns about Dames to U.S. Soccer in 2014 and filed an official complaint in 2018.

“While I was U.S. Soccer President, I was not aware of either Christen’s allegations of abusive coaching or any investigation into her allegations by the Federation,” Cordeiro wrote. “Typically, such a complaint, in the interest of protecting player privacy, would be handled by the appropriate staff at U.S. Soccer, not the Board of Directors.”

Current U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said she shares the players’ concerns in letter of her own last week, thanking them for speaking out.

Cordeiro, who was president of the federation from 2018-20, is seeking to unseat Cone in the presidential election on March 5. The race has garnered much public attention since Cordeiro announced his candidacy, two years after resigning amid controversy over the federation’s response in the USWNT equal pay lawsuit.

“U.S. Soccer had the obligation to protect its players — yet it stood by as abuse continued to occur unchecked,” the players wrote in last week’s letter, addressed to Cordeiro and Parlow Cone.

Sally Yates, who is leading U.S. Soccer’s investigation, said last week that the players deserve “accountability” from the NWSL and USSF. She also called on all sides involved in the investigation to “quickly provide the requested relevant documents and information, consistent with their public commitments to cooperate in the investigation.”