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Washington Spirit catastrophe and more: Freedom Kicks for 12 August 2021

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2020 NWSL Draft Photo by Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Yesterday was a whirlwind of news, most of it bad, about the local soccer concerns. Let’s just go ahead and jump right into it.

‘He made me hate soccer’: Players say they left NWSL’s Spirit over coach’s verbal abuse

At least four former Washington Spirit players, including Kaiya McCullough, talked to the Washington Post about the verbal abuse they suffered at the hands of former coach Richie Burke, who resigned this week claiming “health reasons.” That explanation looks laughable now. Burke subjected members of his team to verbal, emotional, and racial abuse, driving four players to quit soccer altogether.

And we knew about his abuse soon after he was announced as head coach. Steph Yang reported for this very website about the allegations of abuse that Burke directed at youth players when he was in charge of FC Virginia, and then later reported about abuse allegations from his time in charge of D.C. United’s U-23 team.

The NWSL needs to take a long, hard look at this ownership group and figure out how this was allowed to happen, for so long, and why it was initially announced that he was resigning for health reasons. Personally, I’d like to see Steve Baldwin and Bill Lynch depart this ownership group and let new leaders move forward. I’m sure all the celebrities who recently signed onto ownership are aghast, as we all are.

Because that wasn’t the only bad news for the Spirit yesterday

It looks like Tom Torres, former Spirit assistant coach, interim head coach, and long-time D.C. United Academy coach, left the team after allegedly making inappropriate comments to players while intoxicated at a post-Challenge Cup party last year. The team announced that he left to pursue other interests, and he is now a coach at The St. James FC.

It was also affecting recruiting for new players to the team.

All the best for Kaiya McCullough, who seems like a great person and was so brave to share her story with the Washington Post.

Washington Spirit suspend Richie Burke, launch investigation after claiming he was reassigned from head coaching role

The Athletic talks about what some of the immediate next steps are, though there isn’t much clarity right now. I bet things will be changing throughout the coming weeks rapidly.

There’s also a little bit of D.C. United news from yesterday:

Red-hot D.C. United acquires Argentina’s Ramón Ábila off waivers to bolster attack

D.C. United acquired Ramon Abila off of waivers yesterday, adding another forward into the mix. Abila was previously at Minnesota United and is on loan this year on a hefty price tag (though it seems like United will only have to pay about 1/5 of it). It is being reported that Abila wasn’t fit enough for Adrian Heath’s system, which would make it seem that he is definitely not fit enough for Hernan Losada’s system.

It seems like he is stepping into Erik Sorga’s role, as Goff also mentions that Sorga is likely to go on loan in Europe. I wonder what the cause and effect is here, though my gut makes me think its that Sorga wanted a change of scenery, and so they needed someone to replace him.

Former D.C. United Quincy Amarikwa gets to take the Mental Strength League to Oakland.

That’s all I have today, and I certainly don’t need anymore. How are you doing?