Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly – accompanied by Alex Morgan – joined the TODAY Show on Tuesday to discuss their allegations against former NWSL coach Paul Riley. It marked Shim and Farrelly’s first public interview since the Athletic broke their story last week.
“He’s a predator,” Shim said of Riley. “He sexually harassed me. He sexually coerced Sinead. And he took away our careers.”
Shim went on to acknowledge that her story reflects a larger issue within women’s soccer. “It’s not just this team, it’s not just this coach,” she said. “It’s across the league, it’s across the sport.”
Riley – who denied the allegations in a statement to the Athletic – was fired by the North Carolina Courage hours after the Athletic’s story was published. In the days since, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird was ousted and a new three-woman executive committee was formed to oversee league operations.
While Shim said she is grateful for “everyone who has spoken out and supported us,” she acknowledged that there is still more work to be done. “I want more justice, I want better policies, I want players to be protected,” she told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
This morning, Savannah Guthrie sat down with Mana Shim, Sinead Farrelly & Alex Morgan to talk about the sexual abuse allegations within the National Women's Soccer League.
— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) October 5, 2021
Morgan, who helped advocate for the league’s first anti-harassment policy earlier this year, echoed this sentiment.
“Something we ask for is for the league to be proactive, not reactive,” she said. “We ask for transparency.”
Reflecting on the last week, Farrelly spoke of the support she has received. “It felt like it has given my pain purpose, and that has been a liberation for me that I have not been able to feel for 10 years.”
Farrelly continued: “These women, Mana and Alex, and a couple of other women we worked with – and every person that has reached out and shown support – has turned this moment into a movement.”
Also on Tuesday morning, the NWSL Players’ Association released a statement saying that players intend to play Wednesday night’s scheduled games, but noted “our demands will be forthcoming.”
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC