Former National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, who last week went public with allegations of sexual coercion against since-fired head coach Paul Riley, said on Tuesday they want more action taken to protect players.
The fallout since the allegations against Riley, which were first reported by The Athletic last Thursday, has included the ousting of NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird and cancellation of all five of the league's games last weekend.
Shim and Farrelly, speaking on NBC's "Today" morning show, said they were grateful for the support they had received since they went public and wanted greater measures in place to prevent such actions from heing repeated.
"This isn't something that just goes away overnight because we talk about it," said 30-year-old Shim, who played for Riley with Farrelly at NWSL side Portland Thorns.
"It's not just this team, it's not just this coach, it's across the league, it's across the sport, and we have to do something about it."
Riley was fired last Thursday by the NWSL's North Carolina Courage and his coaching licence was also suspended by U.S. Soccer.
Riley could not be reached for comment by Reuters but The Athletic has previously said he denied the majority of the allegations detailed in its report.
The NWSL, which is the highest level of women's soccer in the United States, has launched an independent investigation into its handling of abuse claims and historical complaints of discrimination, harassment or abuse.
It also created a secure and anonymous reporting platform so that current and former players and staff can report misconduct.
"I want more justice. I want better policies. I want players to be protected," said Shim. "And at the same time I feel like we are on the right path and I'm grateful for everyone who has reached out and supported us."
The 31-year-old Farrelly, who played for Riley on three teams, said the support she had received since coming forward has blown her away and "given my pain purpose" but added that she was still affected by the alleged abuse.
"The damage to my self-confidence and how I saw myself, how I approached life, it seeps into every part of your livelihood," said Farrelly.
"There is a lot of loss that comes with that, and things I will not get back. It's bigger than the sport ... This is about safety in our own lives and our bodies, and the players deserve that, we all deserve that."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)