NWSL sanctions Racing Louisville and former head coach over alleged abuse
Warning: This story mentions abuse.
The National Women’s Soccer League announced sanctions Monday against Racing Louisville and a former coach following reports of his misconduct.
Racing Louisville was fined $200,000 and ordered to hire a staff, namely a general manager, that would “report directly into ownership.”
Christy Holly, a Racing Louisville head coach fired in 2021 without public explanation, was banned from any future employment with the league.
Several other teams and league individuals were also sanctioned.
The NWSL said in a statement the sanctions were levied in response to findings from a December report commissioned by the league and its players’ association to investigate league-wide allegations of misconduct. It found “credible reports” that Holly had sexually abused a player while with the club and detailed other allegations of misconduct across his career.
It also said players felt Racing Louisville leadership did not adequately protect them from retaliation by Holly after they brought up concerns about his behavior, and that the club at times did not fully cooperate with investigators.
The NWSL added the fines would be “used solely in furtherance of systemic reform and to directly and positively impact the lives of players, such as expanding mental health resources and positive culture-building and enhancing coaching education and development.”
In October, U.S. Soccer, the sport’s national governing body, released a similar report into systemic misconduct in the NWSL.
In the wake of the findings, Racing Louisville fans expressed support for players. They also criticized leadership and called for the departure of James O’Connor, president of Soccer Holdings, LLC, which owns Racing Louisville and its men’s counterpart, Louisville City FC.
Following the December report, Racing Louisville released a statement apologizing for how it handled Holly’s time with the team and said it was taking actions to improve its club environment, including by adding a general manager position.
Note: If you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault or harassment, contact the confidential National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673 to be connected to a provider in your area.