Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) led 43 Members of Congress in urging the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) to cooperate fully with the joint investigation into the working environments of all 12 teams in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) being conducted by the NWSL and NWSL Players Association (NWSLPA). While former acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ investigation revealed systemic abuse and harassment rampant in the league, the lawmakers are calling on USSF not only to cooperate with the joint investigation but also to outline concrete plans to prevent future abuse. One year ago, Congresswoman Ross led a similar group of lawmakers in calling for an initial investigation following a series of disturbing reports of abuse and harassment faced by NWSL players.

“Until individuals experiencing abuse feel comfortable coming forward with complaints or concerns to those in positions of authority, the systemic misconduct described in the report will continue. Only receptiveness to institutional flaws will lead to institutional improvement,” the Members wrote.

The Members continued, “It is obviously unacceptable that players have been subjected to this level of systemic abuse in professional women’s soccer. These exceptional athletes have the right to practice and play the sport they love without threats, coercion, or abuse. The investigation is an important step forward in ensuring women athletes have the protections they deserve, but the work does not stop here… The sport and the league are clearly in need of systemic reform, and this investigation by the U.S. Soccer Federation, as well as the joint NWSL-NWSLPA investigation, will provide critical insights into the changes required to ensure our athletes can safely continue to bring pride to our nation.”

The Yates report revealed information about the working environment of the NWSL and in women’s soccer generally, including abuse that often begins in youth soccer programs. Her report also outlined important steps that can help change the sport at all levels. In their letter, the lawmakers underscored that the Yates report is only the beginning of institutional change needed across women’s soccer.

In Congress, Congresswoman Ross has led the push for reform in women’s soccer. The North Carolina Courage is based in Congresswoman Ross’ district. More than a year ago, the Courage’s head coach, Paul Riley, was fired following reports of abuse endured by players on the team.

Full text of the letter is available here.