Portland Thorns FC head coach Ryan Wilkinson resigned on Friday after one season and one National Women’s Soccer League title.
in a long message posted on twitter, Wilkinson said the players asked for his resignation following an investigation into his conduct as head coach – conduct he said he self-reported to the team’s human resources officers.
Wilkinson said during a short time in October, she and a player — identified by The Athletic as defender Emily Menges — “formed a friendship that turned into more complex feelings.”
“While it was a human moment, it did not go beyond an expression of feelings for each other,” she said, adding that she immediately reported the action to human resources to ensure that she “did not cross any ethical lines.” Have done.”
An investigation by the league and the players union found no violations of the rules.
Nevertheless, Wilkinson, 40, told The Athletic she was resigning because she had lost the confidence of her players.
“Once you lose the locker room, which I have, there’s no coming back,” she said. “So that’s why I recognized that not too long ago my time in Portland was over, because there were players who didn’t communicate with me.
“And that’s the part I can live with. When the locker room — for whatever reason — is gone, it’s gone.”
The actions of coaches and team officials have been in the spotlight since the release in early October of the Yates Report, which revealed how reports of sexual and emotional abuse of players were ignored and alleged perpetrators were denied their jobs. How was permission granted?
This included former Thorns manager Paul Riley, who was fired for cause in 2015 following allegations of sexual assault and harassment by former Thorns players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, but who along the way was allowed to keep coaching in the NWSL. Went. His firing is not being made public.
The Thorns won the NWSL title on October 29, defeating the Kansas City Current 2–0.
Club owner Merritt Paulson on Thursday announced that it intends to sell thorns but keep Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer.
“The past year has been challenging for our club and our players. I am sorry for our organization’s role in the failures identified in the investigation,” Paulson said in a lengthy release.
“Despite these challenges, the future is bright for the Portland Thorns and there is much more to achieve.”
This report used information from Jeff Carlisle of ESPN FC.