A joint statement from 13 former members of Canada’s national women’s soccer program – further detailing allegations against a South Surrey coach – has led the Vancouver Whitecaps, with whom he also coached, to contact police.
Earlier this week, the players released an online statement detailing a number of incidents they allegedly witnessed while with Canada’s under-20 program a decade ago, which included inappropriate touching, private meetings with young players in hotel rooms and inappropriate text messages.
“We come forward 10 years later because: some of us didn’t know he was still coaching, and we all look back at our experience with Canada Soccer and the Vancouver Whitecaps and think the situation should have been handled differently,” the statement reads.
In the statement, the players name the coach in question – as have other media, subsequently – though Peace Arch News’ policy is to not name individuals until formal charges are laid.
Shortly after the statement was released, the Vancouver Whitecaps released a statement of its own, saying that members of the organization were made aware of complaints in 2008 and “the Club immediately engaged an independent Ombudsperson, a leading expert in workplace safety and respected lawyer who specializes in this field, to do a thorough and impartial investigation into the complaints.”
However, the organization goes on to say that “in light of the specific details contained in today’s blog, we are concerned there may be new information related to this matter that did not come forward in 2008 or since.”
The Whitecaps said they have contacted the Vancouver Police Department to ensure they are aware of the information contained in the players’ statement “and can assess if further action is required.”
The coach left the Whitecaps and national team program several years ago, and in recent years has been a coach with South Surrey/White Rock-based Coastal FC. When the allegations were first brought to light by a former player in February, Coastal suspended the coach.
At that time, Coastal FC executive director Chris Murphy told PAN that “we had no knowledge” of the allegations prior to the coach joining the club. However, in early March, former Coastal coach and executive member Jack Reddy disputed that claim, and said he told others in the club of the allegations during a meeting “in 2010 or 2011.”
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