Irish Women’s National Team Coach Rejects Allegations of Weight Shaming
Get the latest updates on the much-awaited Women’s World Cup matches, including the controversy surrounding former Houston Dash coach and current Irish women’s national team coach, Vera Pauw. Pauw has been accused of weight shaming her players while coaching in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). However, Pauw denies any wrongdoing and calls the allegations “absolutely ridiculous and false.”
Pauw and her team will be facing off against the United States, who are currently preparing for the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The first of their two matches will be hosted at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas on Saturday. Sinead Farrelly, one of the players who accused former Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley of sexual abuse and misconduct, has been named to the Irish squad and is expected to start.
Controversy in the NWSL
The allegations against Pauw are part of a larger probe into misconduct in the NWSL, which found mistreatment and abuse of players across teams, coaches, and players. The investigation followed a previous probe commissioned by the US Soccer Federation that found that emotional abuse and sexual misconduct were systemic in women’s soccer in the country. The results led to calls for accountability and reform from players, coaches, and officials.
Defending Herself Against the Allegations
Pauw vehemently denies the allegations against her, stating that she strives to be transparent with her players and does not engage in body shaming or control over their lives. She calls the allegations “false” and attributes them to a double standard facing women coaches in the sport.
“If I would have been a man, who would even care about something like that?” she said. “People would say, ‘It is your task to prepare the players to be the best on the pitch. It’s your task as a coach to educate yourself, to study and bring over your knowledge to your players.’
The Importance of Women’s Safety in Sports
Pauw also raises the issue of safety for women coaches and players in the sport, citing her previous allegations of sexual abuse during her playing career in the Dutch league. She expresses concern over women who were listed alongside rapists in the NWSL misconduct report and calls for greater accountability and transparency in women’s soccer.
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