The USA midfielder Lindsey Horan has said she does not want the Sally Yates report on emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in her country’s domestic league to be the “end point” of discussions and investigations into abuses in women’s football.
A year-long independent investigation into abuse and sexual misconduct that was published on Monday revealed that abuse and misconduct had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches and victims in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Before the world champions’ game against England, the European champions, at a sold-out Wembley on Friday night, Horan said: “It’s not just the NWSL, this is women’s football in general, it’s women in general, we have these problems all over the world, it’s a global systemic problem. So I don’t want that to be the end point.
“This investigation came forward and we’re thankful of that but it took way too long. This whole thing was incredibly prolonged and I sit here and I’m like: it’s not done, this is all over the world and being a player in Europe right now, I know that.”
England’s Lucy Bronze echoed those sentiments. “Obviously we don’t know the ins and outs of all of it, we’ve read a little bit of it, but every single one of us is in solidarity with all of those players,” she said.
“Particularly the ones who have spoken out and told their truths, because I can imagine – well, I can’t even imagine – how hard it must be to have gone through it and then to speak out.
“The bigger picture is that speaking out is hopefully going to make sure these types of things don’t happen again and that they can make solutions, people can be held accountable. The most important thing for us to do, not only as English players and the US, is to support those players – it’s just disgraceful and it’s quite upsetting to read some of the stories.
“There are obviously problems in women’s football all around the world. We want to make changes, help support them, and equally show the standard that women’s sport should be at, whether that’s the professionalism on the pitch and how you perform on the pitch, to the environments that you live and breathe and train in.”
Horan, who is on loan at Lyon from Portland Thorns – one of the clubs accused of failing to fully corporate with the investigation – and Crystal Dunn, who plays for Portland, said the players are struggling to feel pride in their achievements with clubs and US Soccer after both were damned in the report for their failure to handle abuse allegations.
“I’m a part of an organisation I’ve always felt very proud to play for, a team I fight on the field for, a club I fight on the field for,” Horan said. “So it’s hard to read this and look back and that and feel proud to play for an organisation like that. That’s really hard for me personally … that’s where I feel hurt and disturbed and just so much anger for these players as well.”
Dunn said: “The jerseys that we’re wearing, it’s hard to be happy in them, it’s hard to find joy in wearing it. The sport we get to play we truly love and as hard as it is to pull on the jersey that you think represents so much devastation and atrocity and trauma, I think leaning on each other is the way we get through it.”