LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Racing Louisville FC will add a new executive in its front office to oversee day-to-day operations of the National Women’s Soccer League club in the wake of a national report last month outlining sexual abuse among the league’s teams.
Racing Louisville was mentioned prominently in that report, which detailed alleged sexual abuse of a player by former coach Christy Holly. The club reportedly fired Holly quickly after learning of the allegations but has received criticism for not vetting him thoroughly enough and for not being as responsive to other complaints players had about Holly as it should have been.
In a letter to season-ticket members this afternoon, the club said, "We understand the intense community conversation and range of emotions the report sparked in our fan base and support system, and we hear your concerns. Our focus remains on our players — listening to them and fulfilling our pledge of cooperation with the ongoing NWSL/NWSL Players Association joint investigation.
"Racing Louisville and Soccer Holdings are committed to positive change that addresses workplace issues, improves our culture and allows athletes to achieve their full potential. The club is striving to build an inclusive, safe environment of which players and fans can be proud."
The new general manager, according to a press release from the club, will provide, "oversight of performance, player recruitment and compliance. The general manager will also provide support and insight for players and staff while continuously implementing best practices across professional soccer."
The position was posted on Friday.
The move would appear designed to add another level of leadership over the women’s club, while preserving the present leadership for the company’s USL men’s club, Louisville City FC, whose president, James O’Connor, and ownership has come under fire from fans in the wake of the Holly scandal.
LouCity FC fans remained largely silent during the first half of the club’s last home game, unfurling banners reading, "Arrest Holly" and "Fire JOC" at halftime of the game. Similar banners have sprung up at games elsewhere in support of the fans’ efforts.
Whether this move will cool the temperature of the fan base remains to be seen.
In addition to the new general manager position, the company related a number of moves designed to address weaknesses in its response to potential issues. It already had entered into a service allowing players to lodge confidential complaints, along with new company employee training and adopting new NWSL guidelines on vetting coaching hires.
In addition to those, the letter to season-ticket members said, the club has enacted the following measures:
- Adding a new assistant coach to the Racing technical staff. This coach will liaise directly with players on their individual development plans while also working with staff on coaching objectives.
- Updating company-wide anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and practices to address specific issues facing our industry, including training programs to be run by an accredited third-party resource.
- Forming an internal committee of Soccer Holdings employees to regularly meet with our players to garner feedback.
- Scheduling town hall events for season ticket members to share their input.
Racing Louisville finished its regular season on Oct. 1 with a 1-0 victory over Kansas City. After going winless for nearly four months, the team won three of its final four games to finish its second season.
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