Alex Morgan warned U.S. Soccer against hiring Paul Riley as the U.S. women’s national team head coach in 2019, according to a new ESPN documentary.
The upcoming episode of ESPN’s E:60 investigative series, titled “Truth Be Told – The Fight For Women’s Professional Soccer,” details the NWSL coach abuse scandal, including the Portland Thorns’ 2015 dismissal of Paul Riley following allegations of harassment and sexual coercion.
Morgan is featured in the documentary. The USWNT star helped her Thorns teammate Mana Shim email her complaint about Riley to Thorns owner Merritt Paulson, per a report from The Athletic.
After Riley’s dismissal from the Thorns, he was hired by the Western New York Flash, the franchise that later became the North Carolina Courage. While the Thorns fired Riley, the organization told the other NWSL club there were “no concerns with him as a coach.”
In a 2019 phone call between Paulson and Courage owner Steve Malik, however, Paulson told Malik that Riley should withdraw his name from USWNT consideration because he was fired for cause.
In the ESPN documentary, Morgan says she did all that she could to stop Riley from becoming head coach of the USWNT.
“I did my part in stopping him from becoming head coach,” Morgan said. “And that was sharing as much information as I could with the people who were in charge of selecting the next head coach.
“The response by U.S. Soccer was no, they had never heard of this misconduct or harassment. Not the report that Mana submitted, not the investigation, and that this was a surprise to them.”
The documentary is set to debut Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.