Gotham FC’s first NWSL Championship victory was sweet. The squad engineered a complete turnaround from last season, going from worst to first to put an exclamation point on captain Ali Krieger’s career.

Two other Gotham players also received a fairytale ending to the season: NWSL whistleblowers Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly.

In late 2021, Shim and Farrelly exposed a longstanding culture of sexual coercion under their former head coach Paul Riley. Their stories of abuse led to widespread investigations and sweeping changes across the league, including changes in leadership and a groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement.

“I never really imagined that I’d have this full-circle moment and opportunity to go back as a player, and definitely not as a teammate of Sinead’s again,” Shim told The Oregonian. “I think we are both excited and this feels like a gift we are experiencing, being together again.”

Both Shim and Farrelly had retired from soccer after suffering from Riley’s mistreatment with the Portland Thorns and from injuries. But they both returned to play for Gotham together this season — and their joint comeback ended in triumph.

“I think it’s this full-circle moment of reclaiming back what we felt like we lost and the difficulties and things we’ve been through in the past with [Portland] particularly, but also just with this league,” Farrelly told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Before the championship match began, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman weighed in on the importance of Shim and Farrelly’s participation in the game.

“For me, personally, I’m so proud to see Mana and Sinead competing on the pitch tonight. I’m just so proud that we have created an environment that they feel safe and supported,” Berman said.

Along with achieving their dream of winning a title with Gotham FC, Shim and Farrelly were able to make the NWSL a safer place for players in the process.

“It’s just been a dream,” Farrelly told The Inquirer. “I haven’t even had time to process, but it just keeps being the best-case scenario that I could have ever dreamed of — that I didn’t even think was possible. So it’s just incredible.”

One month after making her NWSL return, Mana Shim is back scoring goals.

The 31-year-old midfielder scored her first NWSL goal since 2015 on Wednesday. She provided the lone strike for Gotham FC in their 1-1 draw with the Orlando Pride, scoring in the 91st minute off an assist from Midge Purce.

Shim helped spur investigations into coaching abuse across the NWSL as one of two players who detailed allegations of abuse against former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley in a report published by The Athletic in 2021. She joined Gotham FC for the 2023 season after a five-year hiatus from the league.

With the draw, Gotham FC fell just short of a place in the Challenge Cup semifinals, but Shim still could appreciate her accomplishment.

“I mean this is bittersweet, and I couldn’t even celebrate because I was like, ‘We have to win this game,’” she said afterward. “And now that I have some time to reflect on it, obviously, it’s amazing. And I’m just so grateful that they trusted me to even be in the position to be on the field at that time.”

She called Gotham “the best group I’ve ever worked with” in her television interview postgame. She plays with her former Thorns teammate and fellow whistleblower Sinead Farrelly on the New Jersey-based club.

“I’m just enjoying it so much,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be with the group and I just feel honored to be a part of it.”

While she has played in just four matches since signing with the club in June, she has made her minutes count.

“We knew that Mana could help us,” Gotham head coach Juan Carlos Amorós said postgame. “And again, maybe a new position for her arriving late from left back, [but] very happy for her to get that goal.”

Mana Shim made her return to NWSL play on Sunday, being subbed on in NJ/NY Gotham FC’s game against Angel City FC.

“That was so fun!!! Thank you @GothamFC for believing in me,” Shim wrote after. “I love this team and can’t wait for what’s to come! And I have to say – I’m proud to call @NWSL home now.”

Shim is one of two players who were at the center of a report in the Athletic detailing allegations of abuse against former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley. Following that report, investigations were launched into the NWSL’s conduct, and Riley was fired as head coach of the North Carolina Courage.

The midfielder had not played since 2018, when she was with the Houston Dash, but had been seen sparingly training with players like former Thorns teammate Alex Morgan. On Sunday, Morgan wrote that Shim is “back and I’m so proud rn I could cry.”

Morgan was one of the players that helped Shim to go to the league with her allegations against Riley.

“Couldn’t have done is without you!!” Shim wrote in response to Morgan.

Last October, Shim was tasked to lead US Soccer’s safety taskforce.

Mana Shim is joining Gotham FC on a short-term injury replacement contract, the club announced on Sunday.

“I am excited to return to the NWSL as part of Gotham FC. It’s a demanding and professional environment that’s focused on players first, and they have put together an incredibly talented group that I’m honored to share the field with,” Shim said in a statement.

The midfielder will be available to play in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Red Stars (5:30 p.m. EST, Paramount+).

Shim previously played in the NWSL as a member of the Portland Thorns (2013-17) and Houston Dash (2018). She makes her return to the NWSL after a five-year hiatus; her last league game was on June 2, 2018.

In 2021, Shim and Sinead Farrelly publicly accused their former coach, Paul Riley, of sexual harassment and coercion in a story published by The Athletic. The story prompted Riley’s firing and opened multiple investigations into abuse in the NWSL. Following the release of the U.S. Soccer-commissioned Sally Yates report in 2022, Shim was named chair of a U.S. Soccer Participant Safety Taskforce. Per Gotham FC’s press release, Shim will continue serving in her full-time position with U.S. Soccer while playing in the league.

Farrelly, who took her own six-year break from soccer, also resumed playing earlier this year as a member of Gotham FC. Sunday’s game will mark Farrelly and Shim’s first NWSL game as teammates since 2015.

Alex Morgan helped her Portland Thorns teammate Mana Shim file an abuse complaint against their then-coach Paul Riley in 2015.

Now the U.S. women’s national team star is joining Shim on U.S. Soccer’s participant safety taskforce to help prevent abuse across all levels of the sport.

Shim is the chair of the taskforce, which was created as a direct result of a U.S. Soccer-commissioned investigation into abuse in the NWSL. The taskforce will seek “to drive change across the entire soccer ecosystem,” the federation said Friday in a news release.

Morgan will be joined on the 33-member taskforce by her USWNT teammates Tierna Davidson, AD Franch and Naomi Girma, as well as by NWSLPA president and Washington Spirit midfielder Tori Huster.

The NWSL also will be represented by Carlin Hudson, director of strategy for the league, and by Yael Averbuch West, general manager for Gotham FC.

The taskforce also includes one former member of the men’s national team, Tony Sanneh, though no current USMNT players, as well as representatives from professional, recreational and youth leagues, among others.

Former USWNT midfielder Shannon Boxx and Maryland youth association executive director Greg Smith will serve as vice chairs.

The priorities for the taskforce include supporting the recommendations that resulted from the investigation. The group also has been asked to identify “the biggest concerns regarding the risks around relationships with significant power imbalances,” in particular coach-player relationships, which NWSL Coach of the Year Casey Stoney called out in October as “power dynamic that should not happen.”

“There is much to do, but I am confident we have a team with a wide range of experiences and viewpoints to change the culture in soccer from the ground up,” Shim said in the release. “Together, we will be defining new standards, policies, reporting systems and educational programs with the goal of eradicating abuse altogether from our sport.”

In 2015, Shim reported then-coach Paul Riley for sexual harassment and coercion. Her report led to his dismissal from the club, but the reason for his departure was not made public.

“It was offensive,” Shim said. “They weren’t going to say anything about Paul unless they had to, right? Because it was at their expense. It would make them look bad.”

In September 2021, Shim and her former Thorns teammate Sinead Farrelly went public with allegations of abuse against Riley. Their whistleblowing led to investigations into systemic abuse in the NWSL, one by U.S. Soccer and one by the league and its players association.

The findings of the U.S. Soccer investigation, conducted by former U.S. attorney general Sally Yates, detailed a culture of abuse perpetuated by leaders in the NWSL and in the federation itself.

U.S. Soccer participant safety taskforce

  • Mana Shim, former NWSL player (chair)
  • Shannon Boxx, former USWNT and NWSL player (vice chair)
  • Greg Smith, Maryland State Youth Soccer Association executive director (vice chair)
  • Margueritte Aozasa, UCLA women’s soccer coach
  • Nicole Arsenault, Idaho Youth Soccer technical lead
  • Jessica Bartley, USOPC director of mental health services
  • Paul Burke, former Utah Youth Soccer president
  • Erin Chastain, University of Minnesota women’s soccer coach
  • Margie Close, American Youth Soccer Organization secretary
  • Anastasia Danias, Major League Soccer executive vice president and general counsel
  • Tierna Davidson, USWNT and NWSL player
  • Gloria Faber, U.S. Youth Soccer and New Mexico Youth Soccer executive director
  • AD Franch, USWNT and NWSL player
  • Lesle Gallimore, USSF coach educator and former USSF YNT coach
  • Naomi Girma, USWNT and NWSL player
  • Lauren Holiday, former USWNT and NWSL player
  • Carlin Hudson, former NWSL player and current NWSL director of strategy
  • Tori Huster, NWSL player and NWSLPA president
  • Greg Hutton, U.S. Club Soccer chief operating officer
  • Cynthia Labella, Institute of Sports Medicine medical director at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Ben Lindau, U.S. men’s Paralympic national team player
  • Alex Morgan, USWNT and NWSL player
  • Kim Oberle, former FIFA referee and current national referee coach
  • Scott Oliaro, UNC associate director of sports medicine
  • Jason Sacks, Positive Coaching Alliance president
  • Amy Saltzman, abuse educator and Spot a Spider founder
  • Tony Sanneh, former USMNT and MLS player
  • Kwame Ofori Attah Sarkodie, former USYNT captain
  • Shonna Schroedl, U.S. Adult Soccer Association Adult Council
  • Renee Towles, USL senior director of safeguarding
  • Kate Ward, U.S. Deaf Soccer WNT player
  • Yael Averbuch West, former USWNT player and current NJ/NY Gotham FC general manager
  • Corey Woolfolk, former MLS player

Mana Shim is joining U.S. Soccer as the lead of the federation’s newly created participant safety taskforce.

As a player for the Portland Thorns in 2015, Shim accused then-coach Paul Riley of sexual harassment and coercion. Her complaint led to his dismissal from the club, but the reason for his departure was not made public.

In September 2021, Shim and her former Thorns teammate Sinead Farrelly went public with allegations of abuse against Riley. Their whistleblowing led to investigations into systemic abuse in the NWSL, one by U.S. Soccer and one by the league and its players association.

The taskforce is a direct result of the U.S. Soccer-commissioned investigation conducted by former U.S. attorney general Sally Yates. The findings of the investigation, released at the start of October, detail a culture of abuse perpetuated by leaders in the NWSL and in the federation itself.

In addressing the recommendations outlined in Yates’ report, the federation committed to establishing “a new Office of Participant Safety to oversee U.S. Soccer’s conduct policies and reporting mechanisms.”

The new task force will “convene leaders in soccer at all levels across the country to coordinate efforts to implement the Yates report’s recommendations and to ensure increased clarity on conduct-related policies and procedures,” U.S. Soccer said in a news release.

Shim agreed to join the taskforce as chair because she sees an opportunity to “set a new standard for all sports,” she said in a statement.

“Sally Yates’s report made it clear that, for far too long, leaders across the soccer ecosystem – including at U.S. Soccer – have not taken responsibility for protecting players,” Shim said. “But I believe in the capacity for change. As leader of the Taskforce, I am committed to ensuring not only that Yates’s recommendations are implemented, but that we push beyond them. We need to find the root causes of our sport’s systemic failures and take action at every level – from the youth game to the professional game.”

More stakeholders from every level of soccer are being identified and will be part of the taskforce, Shim said.

“I’m deeply appreciative of the cooperation and willingness to do the hard work that we’ve already seen from leaders across soccer – including at the NWSL and NWSLPA,” she said. “I’m honored to play a leadership role as we move forward.”

The NWSL and NWSLPA’s joint investigation into abuse in the league is expected by the end of the year.

Former Portland Thorns player Mana Shim is speaking out after new details from an investigation into the club’s handling of coach Paul Riley’s 2015 firing have emerged.

The independent investigation cleared president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson of wrongdoing, the Oregonian reported. Law firm DLA Piper conducted the investigation from late 2021 to early 2022 and shared findings with employees of the club in late August, but the results have not been made public.

Shim, who played for the Thorns from 2013-17, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Riley in 2015, and the coach was fired for cause.

The investigation showed that the club obscured the reason for Riley’s departure from the public. Riley continued to coach in the NWSL until 2021, when Shim and her former Thorns teammate Sinead Farrelly went public with allegations against him in a report published by The Athletic in September 2021.

Shim also detailed to The Athletic a conversation she had with Wilkinson, then the general manager of the Thorns, ahead of the 2014 season.

The midfielder had come out publicly in August 2013, one day before Portland won the 2013 NWSL championship game against the Western New York Flash. In early 2014, she participated in a panel on polyamory and posted about it on Twitter.

In their 2014 conversation, Wilkinson implied that Shim should keep quiet about her sexuality, she told The Athletic.

The DLA Piper investigation, though, chalked up Wilkinson’s comment to a misunderstanding, the Oregonian reported.

Wilkinson could have chosen his words more carefully in speaking with Shim, he told investigators, but said he wasn’t trying to silence her sexuality.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a little while and I want to set the record straight after the Thorns ‘investigation’ was released,” Shim tweeted Friday night. “Gavin Wilkinson explicitly told me to be more like a player who we both knew to be closeted. There was no misunderstanding.

“Gavin told ‘investigators’ that he called the meeting about a tweet I sent. He never mentioned a tweet in our meeting. It pains me that after everything that happened this year, Gavin, Merritt, and the Thorns are still attacking victims. But it does not surprise me.”

Shim shared the details of the conversation with her partner at the time and with teammate Alex Morgan, and both women told The Athletic they remembered speaking with Shim about the incident.

“(Shim) said Wilkinson’s tone was genial, but the message was clear: We don’t talk about being gay or having pride. We play soccer. Wilkinson also praised one of the team’s best players and her reticence to discuss anything but soccer in interviews,” Meg Linehan wrote for The Athletic.

The team responded to the claims made in The Athletic report, saying, “Gavin categorically never communicated to Mana, or any Thorns or Timbers player for that matter, to not discuss political or personal views.”

Wilkinson was placed on administrative leave after The Athletic report in October 2021 pending the investigation. He was replaced as Thorns general manager by Karina LeBlanc in November 2021, but he was reinstated as president of soccer for both the Thorns and the Timbers in January 2022, and he remains general manager of the MLS club.

Several investigations into various organizations’ handling of the claims against Riley and other NWSL coaches are ongoing. Former U.S. attorney general Sally Yates is spearheading an investigation for U.S. Soccer, while the NWSL and NWSPLA are conducting a joint investigation.

Mana Shim has “unfinished business” in the NWSL, according to Alex Morgan. Morgan spoke during a preseason media call on Friday, where she talked about how great it has been having Shim in camp.

“Mana is one of my best friends,” she said. “So to have her here is just great for me, to have one of my best friends in the same city, being able to play with her, knowing her qualities and just having a fellow lefty is always really fun.”

Shim was a surprise inclusion on the San Diego Wave’s preseason roster. After retiring in 2019 to attend law school, she made headlines last year as one of two former players to come forward to The Athletic with allegations of sexual assault against Paul Riley while he was coach of the Portland Thorns. Shim, who played for Portland from 2013-17, also accused Thorns GM Gavin Wilkinson of intimidating her to keep her sexual identity quiet.

On Friday, Morgan talked about Shim’s motivations to return.

“She has unfinished business,” she said. “So it’s always great to see someone so committed, in the middle of law school, to come and commit to playing in the NWSL. Her energy has been really great with this team. She’s a really great culture person.

“I can only speak highly of Mana and what she’s gone through over these last eight years and now getting the chance to come back, knowing that she can feel completely free and comfortable in this environment after what we’ve all fought for in these last 18 months. It just feels really great for her to be back in an environment where she’s welcomed and protected.”

San Diego Wave FC announced its 34-player training camp roster on Monday, with midfielder Mana Shim a surprise addition.

Shim, who last played in the NWSL in 2019, is listed as a non-roster invitee.

The 30-year-old has played six seasons in the league, most recently for the Houston Dash in 2019 before retiring to attend law school. She made headlines last year as one of two former players to come forward publicly with allegations of sexual assault against Paul Riley while he was coach of the Portland Thorns. Shim, who played for Portland from 2013-17, also accused Thorns GM Gavin Wilkinson of intimidating her to keep her sexual identity quiet.

In the wake of The Athletic’s initial report, the North Carolina Courage fired Riley and the Thorns placed Wilkinson on leave while they conducted an independent investigation into the allegations. He has since been reinstated as club president.

The NWSL and NWSLPA, meanwhile, are conducting a joint investigation into misconduct within the league. The ongoing investigation was the result of the Riley allegations and other abuse scandals that rocked the league during the 2021 season.

In late January, Shim was featured in one of Alex Morgan’s TikTok videos, suggesting that the two had been training together. Morgan, Shim’s teammate with the Thorns from 2013-15, was key in helping Shim tell her story and report the abuse to the league.

@alexmorgan13 uh-oh🙃 #ifykyk @meleanashim ♬ original sound - SheboyganSmileCenter

NWSL preseason begins Tuesday following the ratification of the league’s first-ever CBA.

Mana Shim wants the NWSL to pay for player’s therapy in the wake of abuse allegations against five of the league’s 10 coaches this season.

“Many people have asked me what players need to heal from this abuse/feel safe in the future,” she wrote. “Feel therapy has to be on the list. The kind where you get to choose any therapist you want and see them as many times as you need and it doesn’t get held up by insurance.”

Shim later offered up further clarification, stating that she meant “free therapy” and not “feel therapy.”

“And when I say free I mean the NWSL should pay our therapists their full rates for our sessions,” she continued. “This should apply to all current and former players who were abused by these coaches.”

Shim is one of the players that came forward publicly in September, detailing allegations of sexual coercion and verbal abuse against former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley. In the wake of the allegations against Riley, the NWSL underwent a league-wide reckoning that continues to this day, with multiple independent investigations still being conducted.

Kaiya McCullough, who was one of the first players in the league to come forward with allegations of abuse against former Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke, echoed Shim’s statements.

“I’m lucky to have the resources to be able to go to her regularly,” McCullough wrote of her therapist, who she says is “amazing.”

“Like Mana Shim said, everybody in the NWSL should have access to free therapy services. They changed my life.”

Former Chicago Red Stars’ coach Rory Dames is the latest to face allegations of verbal and emotional abuse by players, as detailed in the Post on Monday. At the center of the report is a 2018 formal complaint that was filed to U.S. Soccer — which is currently conducting an independent investigation of the league led by former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates. According to players, U.S. Soccer failed to follow up with them regarding their claims.