U.S. Soccer suspends top Ohio coach's license after sexual misconduct allegations

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·5-min read
A soccer ball placed on a lawn with cherry blossoms.
Brad Evans has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple ex-Toledo staffers. (Getty Images)

U.S. Soccer has suspended the coaching license of Brad Evans, a former Toledo head coach currently working for a number of major organizations in Ohio, after a Guardian report laying out a litany of sexual misconduct allegations, according to The Athletic's Meg Linehan.

Evans resigned as head coach of Toledo in 2015, reportedly after one former player, Candice Fabry, told an athletic department official that Evans had sexually assaulted her after hiring her as a volunteer assistant coach. No reason was publicly provided by the university and Evans only alluded only to "interactions" with co-workers that "demonstrated poor judgment."

Since then, Evans has reportedly found work as the head of coaching education for the Ohio Soccer Association, head coach of US Youth Soccer's Olympic Development Program in Ohio and a coaching education instructor for U.S. Soccer.

The Athletic reports that in addition to his coaching license being immediately suspended, Evans has been blocked from accessing U.S. Soccer's learning center and removed from all study groups and courses. The federation has also reportedly notified SafeSport and the Ohio Soccer Association.

The allegations against ex-Toledo head coach Brad Evans

The Guardian's report features first-hand accounts from six former Toledo staff members, some of them former players under Evans as well.

One of those players was Fabry, who told the Guardian she met with Evans, his wife and another staff member at a bar in 2007 to tell them she would accept an invitation to re-join the program as an unpaid volunteer. Fabry said she left the table for the bathroom after Evans had walked away. There, she said he grabbed her and started assaulting her.

From the Guardian:

“The next thing I remember is a tug on my arm and [Evans] pulling me,” recalls Fabry, who says Evans pulled her into an alcove in the restaurant.

“I remember my back against the wall. I remember his tongue in my mouth. I remember feeling him pushed up against my body. I remember his tongue. I remember his hands in my pants and in my underwear. And that’s where I leave my body.”

Fabry said she found an unread text on her phone the next day asking her to come to the bathroom.

The staff member at the bar confirmed to the Guardian that Fabry told her Evans made an advance on her, but advised her to keep it quiet.

Other staff members recalled Evans making unwanted physical advances on them to the Guardian, with some saying they indulged him for fear of losing their jobs and fatigue from having to constantly say no. Many also described a team culture made toxic by alcohol abuse and overly sexual comments.

From the Guardian:

If a player was not performing at her best, Preston said that Evans suggested: “Her boyfriend needs to step up.” One player was singled out by Evans. “Look at her tits bounce,” Preston recalls Evans saying. “Always about her boobs,” says Preston.

Another former University of Toledo assistant coach speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, says: “He would make disgusting comments when players were running. He made an observation one time in front of me and [Cailin]… “Look at that girl’s boobs when she is running. Like OK, why [do you want me] to look at that?”

A third former assistant coach adds: “Comments about players. Their breasts. The size of their butt. Players that had put on weight and how they might have done that.”

Fabry reportedly said she informed Toledo administrator Kelly Andrews in 2015 of what had taken place between her and Evans at the bar eight years ago. She said she received an email acknowledging receipt and a call from a university human resources employee asking mostly about her time as a player.

Nine days later, Evans resigned.

Toledo, Brad Evans respond to Guardian report

In a statement to the Guardian, Toledo vice president of marking and communications Adrienne King said Evans was not disciplined because he resigned from his post by the end of the school's investigation:

UToledo did conduct an investigation following a report by a student-athlete in January 2015 of verbal harassment by Brad Evans, who was at the time the Head Coach of the women’s soccer team. The investigation did find that Mr. Evans’ conduct toward student-athletes may have violated the University’s Standards of Conduct policy, however, the case was not referred for possible disciplinary action because by the conclusion of the investigation in March 2015, Mr. Evans had already resigned his position effective Feb. 23, 2015.

Evans responded to the Guardian as well, apologizing for his behavior, but not conceding any misconduct beyond inappropriate relationships:

In 2015 I was asked to answer questions about my relationships with some past co-workers. It was clear that my interactions with those co-workers demonstrated poor judgment on my part, and were against university policy, and resigning was best for all involved.

With the help of counseling, I have learned a lot about the causes of my behavior. I am extremely lucky to have the support of my wife in this process. Together, I continue to learn to become a better person.

I am deeply sorry to have disappointed so many individuals, but I continue to work on making a positive future.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide my perspective.

The Guardian reports he responded to no questions about the six women accusing him of sexual assault and harassment.