Washington, D.C.—Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) released the following statement after the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association (NWSLPA) announced that the NWSL has agreed to meet all the union’s demands for cultural changes and transparency following instances of verbal abuse and sexual coercion of players reported last month:

“I am glad the NWSL has agreed to meet the demands of the players’ union and will soon introduce protocols to create a safer environment for players and staff,” said Congresswoman Ross. “This news is an important first step by the NWSL leadership to show they are truly committed to protecting the health and well-being of their players.  However, it is just that—one step. I pledge to continue working with my colleagues in Congress and the NWSLPA to ensure these changes are fully implemented and the root causes of this toxic environment are addressed.”

On October 20th, Congresswoman Ross led a letter with 41 House colleagues urging the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and U.S. Soccer Federation to conduct a thorough investigation into harassment and abuse claims made by NWSL players. Egregious reports of consistent abuse directed at women soccer players, including by former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, revealed a clear pattern of systemic harassment that raised serious safety concerns for players in the league.

After former players bravely recounted the abuse and harassment they endured during Paul Riley’s tenure, he was fired from his position as the head coach of the North Carolina Courage, a NWSL soccer team based in Congresswoman Ross’ district. In addition to Paul Riley, three other NWSL coaches have been fired in recent months for inappropriate comments, creating a toxic environment, and verbal and emotional abuse.