Whitecaps owners apologize, promise review on allegations against South Surrey coach

Whitecaps owners apologize, promise review on allegations against South Surrey coach

‘The pain and suffering these women feel is real and something we care deeply about’ say owners

The Vancouver Whitecaps have put out a statement – this time, an apology from the team’s owners – regarding the handling of allegations of abuse against a former coach.

The allegations stem from complaints recently brought to light online by former players of the 2008 Whitecaps women’s team and Canada’s national U20 women’s team.

“As we reflect on what happened in 2008 and the blogs that have been published over the last several weeks, we express sincere regret and empathy for the harm that has clearly come to many women who participated in our program at that time,” reads a statement signed by Whitecaps co-owners Greg Kerfoot and Jeff Mallett.

The coach left both the ‘Caps and the national program a decade ago, and most recently had been coaching a youth girls team with South Surrey-based Coastal FC. When the allegations were made in February, Coastal suspended the coach.

Multiple times since then, the youth soccer association has told Peace Arch News that executive members did not have knowledge of the allegations prior to the coach joining the club.

Wednesday’s statement was the third from the Major League Soccer team this month. Prior statements from the club were criticized for not expressing remorse or, in the words of the Southsiders – one of the team’s supporter groups – not “effectively addressing the requests made by the former U20 players.

The Southsiders led a walkout at BC Place during a game earlier this month.

The newest statement also offered an apology to those affected.

“The pain and suffering these women feel is real and something we care deeply about. And while we sought and acted on the advice of the best available counsel at the time, it is clear that people were deeply affected. For that we are sorry,” it reads.

Earlier this month – as part of the team’s second statement on the matter – the Whitecaps announced that they had reported the claims to the Vancouver Police Department. Later that day, the VPD confirmed to PAN that they had been made aware of the situation.

The team also announced it “will conduct a thorough and independent review of our operations to ensure that we foster and enforce a culture of zero tolerance for any form of harassment or bullying.”

Many of the players involved have named the coach in question – as have other media, subsequently – though PAN’s policy is to not name individuals until formal charges are laid.

Also on Wednesday, after the statement was released, the team held an invite-only press conference with Mallett that excluded many media outlets, including Black Press Media.

At the conference, Mallett told Canadian Press he’s been troubled for several weeks by the the decade-old allegations.

“We don’t like it. We’ve been losing sleep, too,” he said. “So I feel badly, especially for the women who’ve been impacted by this.”

The organization also announced that it will do an independent review of the actions taken in 2008 and make the results public.

“If the truth comes out and it’s not what we thought it was, then we’ll take action,” Mallett said.

All of the allegations will also be reviewed, he added.

Asked whether changes need to be made to the club’s front office, Mallett said he didn’t anticipate any switch ups.

”Nothing’s ruled out at this point. But looking at this issue, I don’t see that as a necessary element at this point,” he said.

Former player Ciara McCormack – the writer of the original blog post back in February – wrote on Twitter that the newest statement contained “no sincerity, no accountability + many, many unanswered questions remain.”

“Not even close 2 good enough,” she wrote.

– with files from Canadian Press



editorial@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Deb Antifaev

Tom Jackson and bassist Kirby Barber in a trailer for "The Huron Carole," from video posted to youtube.com.
Tom Jackson’s ‘Huron Carole’ concert in White Rock goes virtual to feed hungry Canadians

Surrey broadcast date of Blue Frog-recorded show is Friday, Dec. 11, to benefit Surrey Food Bank

Fentanyl test strips are designed to work in seconds and give a person a negative or positive sign that fentanyl is present in a substance. It also works with other analogues such as carfentanil. (Photo: ASHLEY WADHWANI)
21 people died of overdoses in Surrey in October

Provincewide, more than five people died a day from overdoses

Surrey City Councillor Linda Annis and her dog Randi (foreground) bring toy donations to Saverio Lattanzio of Surrey Firefighters Association (holding toy) and fellow firefighters. (submitted photo: Pace Group)
Firefighters’ ‘Drive-by toy drive’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau, as SuperChefs cooks up kits

‘It’s been a particularly tough year for so many of our Surrey families’

File photo
Surrey RCMP investigating death threat against councillor Hundial

‘On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,’ Councillor Jack Hundial told the Now-Leader

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Most Read