Rory Dames resigned as coach of the National Women’s Soccer League Chicago Red Stars less than 48 hours after the team appeared at the NWSL Championship.
The departure of Dame am Sonntag is the latest coaching change at the NWSL this year – nine so far – in a controversial season. In a press release released shortly before midnight local time on Sunday, the Red Stars said Dames had resigned and a search for a replacement would begin.
“Under Rory’s leadership, we’ve been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field,” the press release said, attributing the quote to “the Chicago Red Stars,” not a club owner or executive.
“We are continuously evaluating our team and our front office environment and, given the dynamic change in the league, it is time to start the next chapter of the Red Stars with the search for a new leadership for the team.”
While the Red Stars failed to specify the circumstances surrounding Dames’ resignation, the Washington Post reported Monday that it was prompted by an investigation into his conduct. According to the report, players, including the US international Christen Press, reported dames to the US Football Association in 2018.
“I think Rory is emotionally abusing players,” Press wrote in a formal complaint that The Post saw. “He doesn’t have a safe distance between himself and his players. He uses his power and status as a coach to manipulate players and get close to them.”
Rory Dames has resigned as manager of the Chicago Red Stars. Daniel Bartel / ISI Photos / Getty Images
Dames would be the fifth male coach to be ousted due to alleged misconduct in a long line of coaching changes in the NWSL this season. Of the 10 teams in the NWSL this season, only one has kept his coach for all of 2021: James Clarkson of the Houston Dash.
Dames, 48, led the Red Stars to the NWSL Championship on Saturday and fell 2-1 to Washington Spirit after extra time.
He had been the only Red Stars coach in the NWSL and joined the club in 2011 before the 2013 NWSL started. Under dames, the Red Stars reached the playoff finals in both 2021 and 2019 and reached the final of the 2020 pandemic tournament called the Challenge Cup, losing all three.
“For eleven years I have been committed to making the Chicago Red Stars one of the best international clubs,” said Dames in Sunday’s press release. “Starting today, returning my attention to my family and future endeavors, I am stepping down as the Chicago Red Stars coach. I want to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans, and the players I’ve had.” the opportunity to participate in their professional football career. “
Sarah Spain, an ESPN commentator and radio host, has a stake in the Red Stars.
The NWSL championship game on Saturday ended a tumultuous ninth season for the league. The Spirit played under an interim coach, Kris Ward, after Richie Burke was fired in September for violating the league’s anti-harassment policy.
The games were canceled last month as players protested the handling of allegations against former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley and they put forward a list of claims through their union, the NWSL Players Association. NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird resigned last month amid the controversy after striker Alex Morgan announced that Baird had refused to re-investigate Riley.