US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone responds to Rory Dames allegations

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U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone has responded to a letter penned by nine USWNT stars directed at the federation regarding Tuesday’s report from the Washington Post detailing further allegations of abuse against former Red Stars coach Rory Dames.

In the letter signed by Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Sam Mewis, Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn on Wednesday, the players directly implicated U.S. Soccer in the Dames allegations, specifically addressing president Cindy Parlow Cone and former president Carlos Cordeiro.

Cordeiro is seeking to unseat Cone in the upcoming presidential election.

“U.S. Soccer had the obligation to protect its players — yet it stood by as abuse continued to occur unchecked,” the players wrote in the letter.

Cone responded Thursday, writing, “I absolutely share your concern about the allegations of unconscionable abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in both the professional league and at the youth level. The Washington Post article was the first that U.S. Soccer learned of the latest allegations concerning sexual abuse by Rory Dames.”

Molly Hensley-Clancy’s report in the Washington Post featured several allegations of sexual abuse and harassment by former youth players of Dames, including accounts that dated back to a 1998 police report.

In the Washington Post story, Susan Bogart, a lawyer for Dames, pointed out that U.S. Soccer cleared the former Red Stars coach after twice hearing complaints about Dames from NWSL players, culminating in a 2018 investigation conducted by the federation. Dames stayed at his post until he resigned in November 2021.

Responding to the USWNT players’ demands for “full transparency and accountability in addressing these systemic problems,” Cone said that U.S. Soccer had hired former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Attorney General of the United States Sally Yates to spearhead an independent investigation into the allegations.

“I know I speak for everyone at U.S. Soccer when I say we are eager to learn from the investigation about any systemic issues that exist in the sport – including at the Federation – so we can continue the process of making the necessary changes to protect all players and prevent anything like this from happening again,” wrote Cone.”We are ready and willing to lead all of us forward and use this as an opportunity to set things right and rebuild the trust of the entire soccer community.”

In her open letter, Cone also thanked the players who spoke out, writing, “Your voices have been immeasurable in shining a light on these horrific scenarios and pushed all of us forward in ensuring change comes quickly.”