The Chicago Red Stars’ head coach has resigned amid multiple allegations of abuse, shortly after the team played in the National Women’s Soccer League championship game.
Allegations around Rory Dames came to light after an investigation by the Washington Post was published on Monday. Dames resigned from the Red Stars late on Sunday night, in advance of the newspaper’s report.
The article detailed a range of abuse, from verbal attacks to inappropriate off-hours communications. It also alleged he demanded players spend time with him outside of a professional setting.
Dames is alleged to have made inappropriate jokes about players’ ethnicity and religion, commented on players’ appearances and attempted to punish players by withholding time with their families.
A release sent out by the team on Sunday painted a benign picture of the resignation.
“Under Rory’s leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field,” the release read. “We continually evaluate our team and front office environment, and given the dynamic change underway in the league, it is time to begin the next chapter of the Red Stars with a search for new leadership of the team.”
Five male coaches have left their posts in a tumultuous year for the NWSL, with allegations of abuse, as well as evidence of those allegations being ignored by league and team officials, running rampant throughout the league.
NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned in early October.
The Washington Post reported that the league knew of at least one complaint against Dames as early as 2018, coming from former Red Stars player and USWNT star Christen Press.
“I think Rory emotionally abuses players,” Press wrote in notes for a formal complaint supplied to the Post. “He doesn’t have a safe distance between himself and his players. He uses his power and status as the coach to manipulate players and get close to them.”
Dames had been the Red Stars’ coach since the 2011 season, when they were in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. The team played the next year in a semi-pro league before joining the newly formed NWSL in 2013.
Chicago lost 2-1 to the Washington Spirit after extra time in the NWSL title game on Saturday.