October 5, 2022

Orlando Pride has placed head coach Amanda Cromwell and first assistant coach Sam Greene on administrative leave, the team announced Tuesday morning.

This decision was made on the recommendation of the National Women’s Soccer League and the NWSLPA, which conducted an investigation into “alleged retaliation in violation of the NWSL’s policy to prevent and eliminate discrimination, harassment and bullying.” ‘bullying in the workplace’. The league added that the investigation is still ongoing and no final decision has been made.

Pride has named assistant coach Seb Hines as interim head coach while the investigation continues. Hines is a former English Premier League player who also played for Orlando City until 2017. He has been an assistant manager at Pride since 2020.

The NWSL has also frozen any roster moves for Pride, according to The Athletic’s Meg Linehan.

“Providing a respectful environment and adhering to all league policies are of Pride’s highest priority, the team said in a statement. “The club is committed to cooperating fully with the joint investigation team. until the conclusion of this process. As this is an ongoing investigation, the Club will have no further comment at this time.”

While it’s unclear exactly what happened with Pride, the phrase “retaliation” in the NWSL’s recommendation likely refers to a specific type of violation set forth in league policy:

NWSL also prohibits retaliation or retaliation against anyone for making a complaint in good faith under this policy; support or assist, in good faith, someone else in pursuing a complaint; object to misconduct; or testify, assist or otherwise participate in any investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by any government law enforcement agency. The NWSL will not, and will not permit a team to, retaliate against anyone for exercising any rights under this policy. Retaliation is a violation of this policy. Prohibited retaliation includes, but is not limited to, termination, demotion, suspension, failure to hire or consider hiring, failure to give equal consideration in making employment decisions , failure to make impartial job recommendations, adversely affect working conditions, or refuse any employment. benefit to.

Cromwell has coached Pride since December 2021 after a long collegiate coaching career with UCLA (2013-2021), UCF (1999-2013) and UMBC (1996-1997).

More problems in the NWSL

The decision to suspend Cromwell and Greene stems from the investigation the NWSL launched at the end of 2021 following numerous reports of alleged workplace misconduct across the league, which led to a number of layoffs, suspensions and resignations in recent months.

The North Carolina Courage fired head coach Paul Riley in September 2021 after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged. The Washington Spirit fired coach Richie Burke the same month after suspending him in August following allegations of verbal abuse, leading owner Steve Baldwin to sell the team.

Then-commissioner Lisa Baird also resigned in September.

The Houston Dash suspended general manager and coach James Clarkson on April 26, 2022, following allegations of discrimination, harassment and abuse.

Cromwell and the Pride are the most recent members to be affected by the investigation, but they may not be the last. The league maintained that its investigation with the NWSLPA will continue and encouraged more people to provide helpful information.

“The joint investigation is continuing,” the league said in a statement Tuesday, “and the NWSL and NWSLPA are encouraging current and former players and staff with information relating to discrimination, harassment, abuse or harassment. bullying within the league, whether in relation to this incident or other matters, to contact [email protected], to contact the NWSL or NWSLPA directly, or through any other club reporting channel and league.”

Orlando Pride coach Amanda Cromwell is now at the center of the NWSL’s league-wide investigation. (Nell Redmond – USA TODAY Sports)