The San Diego Wave emphasized the club’s commitment to player safety and welfare in a joint statement with its players released Thursday night.
The club also outlined its existing safety protocols as well as the next steps it plans to take in the aftermath of the Sally Yates-led investigation, which found evidence of “systemic” abuse in the NWSL.
“San Diego Wave FC is committed to creating a work environment for players and staff that is free of harassment, abuse and retaliation of any kind,” the Wave’s statement reads.
Joint statement on behalf of Wave FC and Wave FC players. pic.twitter.com/Fcu7Im9PDl— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) October 14, 2022
Joint statement on behalf of Wave FC and Wave FC players. pic.twitter.com/Fcu7Im9PDl
The next steps include “full cooperation with open and future investigations,” with a joint investigation by the NWSL and NWSL Players Association still ongoing, as well as the establishment of a Player Safety Office.
Star striker Alex Morgan tweeted her support for the club’s actions, writing, “Proud to represent this club and city.”
The Wave were not free of the controversy that came with the Yates report, as current president of the club and former USWNT coach Jill Ellis was mentioned in the findings.
In 2014, USWNT players reported former Thorns coach Paul Riley’s abusive actions to Ellis and then-U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. In that same year, players – including Christen Press – reported Rory Dames to Ellis and Gulati for creating a “hostile environment” within the Red Stars organization.
Ellis also hired Christy Holly, another coach named in the Yates report, as an opposition analyst for the USWNT in 2019.
“While Ellis ultimately made the decision to hire Holly, she did not undertake any due diligence, background checks, or reference checks before hiring Holly,” the report reads. “Ellis did not know whether any such checks were performed for Holly, or who in the Federation would have been responsible for seeing that they were done. In terms of due diligence, Ellis said they knew what they read in the papers but did not dig into rumors.”
Holly had been asked to leave Sky Blue FC in 2017 because of his “verbal abuse” and his “relationship with a player,” per the Yates report, though publicly the club said the exit had been a mutual agreement.
Holly later was fired by Racing Louisville in 2021 for his continued sexual coercion and harassment of player Erin Simon, though that reason was not publicly disclosed at the time. The team stated that Holly had been “fired for cause” but did not elaborate further.