US Soccer club Houston Dash has apologised to its former and current players for alleged 'misconduct' by coach Vera Pauw, now manager for Ireland's WNT. Pauw has denied the accusations of shaming players for their weight and "attempt[ing] to exert excessive control over their eating habits."
The apology was made following the release of a report from the American National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), composed of after a 14-month investigation of abuse and misconduct, including sexual abuse and misconduct, throughout the NWSL.
Pauw is mentioned in relation to her one-year spell as at Houston Dash manager in 2018. The report states that "Players credibly reported that Pauw criticized players for their appearance—for example, saying that some players were 'too big' while praising other players for losing weight, with no apparent correlation to performance or health."
"Pauw appeared to want to control and micromanage players' diets and exercise regimens even when her weight loss directives were inconsistent with sports medicine best practices; for example, players reported that Pauw discouraged them from eating fruit because of its sugar content."
"Players reported that Pauw's comments affected a teammate struggling with an eating disorder."
According to the report, Pauw "appeared for but did not cooperate in an interview with the Joint Investigative team," instead providing a written denial of the allegations. She denied that she had ever remarked on a player's appearance.
Pauw this year presided over Ireland's historic qualification for the Women's World Cup. The FAI has yet to comment on the allegations.