Houston Dash suspends coach James Clarkson amid harassment investigation

Houston Dash suspended head coach and general manager James Clarkson on Tuesday due to an ongoing investigation “to review current and historical complaints of discrimination, harassment and abuse.”

Dash said a temporary coach will be appointed in the coming days. Houston opened its regular women’s soccer season Sunday against a San Diego spell expansion.

According to a press release, the club received preliminary results from a joint investigation by the NWSL Players Association and NWSL that began last year. Dash will wait for the final report before deciding Clarkson’s future.

“As an organisation, our highest priority is to create and maintain a safe and respectful work environment for our players and staff, which we believe is critical to our success on the field,” Dash said in a statement. “The club has made counseling services available to all interested members of the organization.”

In a joint statement, the NWSL and the NWSLPA recommended that Clarkson “immediately suspend pending conclusions” of the investigation.

“The players made a promise to ourselves and future generations to transform our league – not through words, but through our actions,” NWSLPA Executive Director Megan Burke said in a statement. “This shows that our joint investigation is doing the work of systemic transformation. Work is ongoing, and we commend the players for speaking out and speaking out.”

at statment Wednesday, Clarkson denied the allegations.

“I’m shocked,” he said. “Totally shocked.” “As a coach I love the team and have always respected my players and staff. Any allegations like that are absolutely not true.”

Clarkson, 50, was appointed coach of the Dash ahead of the 2019 season. Prior to that, he worked as an academy director for Houston’s major league counterpart, Dynamo, and coached the club’s Premier League team.

Similar issues swept the league in 2021 when North Carolina Courage fired Paul Riley over accusations of sexual misconduct towards its players when he coached the Portland Thorns. The fallout included the resignation of then-NWSL Commissioner Lisa Bird.

Washington Spirit fired coach Richie Burke that same month after a Washington Post story that alleged he created an abusive work environment for his players. Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dams resigned in November amid allegations that ranged from verbal abuse and jokes about players’ race and religion to incorrect expectations that players spend time with him away from practice.

In addition to the joint investigation between the NWSL and the NWSLPA, the NFL has appointed former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to conduct an independent investigation, which is still ongoing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: