Skip to main content


You Just Wanted to Win. Contact Us If You Were Assaulted, Even Years Ago.

Take Legal Action.

Contact us today for a free and confidential consult.


Culpable When Caught

Institutions, Officials, Brands Are Culpable – When They’re Caught. The elite sports machine, for 10 years at least, has followed a surreptitious playbook calling for a duck-and-cover strategy employed by universities and governing organizations that harbor players’ abuse while pretending to protect them – until one day a shocking reveal breaks across headlines and conspirators are caught in the act.

Recent attention has centered on organizational abuse rampant at the youth level, affecting female talent under age 18. But female athletes over 18 suffer abuse, too. The dynamic may look a bit different considering the type of coercion, celebrity, salaries, and international stakes, but the damage is the same.

If you were sexually assaulted while playing college or professional sports, please contact us for a private consult. Some states have opened their statutes of limitations (SOLs), allowing more time for survivors to come to grips with what happened to them. But even these new windows of opportunity have deadlines.

NEW YORK – The look-back goes all the way to 1968, but your case must get on file by November 2023.

CALIFORNIA – The look-back goes to 2009, but you have until December 2026 to get your case on file.

Contact Us Now

We’re aligned with a law firm ready to go to battle to protect you.

Too Many Stories of Abuse.

The USWNT (U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team) imploded in October 2022 with news that an independent 14-month, league-commissioned Joint Investigation Report had found misconduct saturating the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League; USWNT stars play for the league when they’re not away touring on the FIFA World Cup circuit).

The extent was worse than anyone speculated, with charges including sexual coercion, abuse and unwanted advances, emotional abuse, cronyism, racist remarks, blurring of professional boundaries and retaliation of players who dared to complain about how they were treated,” according to The New York Times.

“I believe it [systemic abuse] is killing our beautiful sport and eroding the players’ passion for the game.”

– Becky Sauerbrunn, NWSL captain

The Guardian cited that “investigators found that such problems were exacerbated by leading club and league officials persistently failing to heed warnings and take complaints from players and their parents seriously. “ And, there was also the code of silence that threatened dreadful consequences for players who breached it.

U.S. players, the reigning World Cup Champions, were in London preparing to take the field in a friendly game against England at Wembley Stadium when they reacted – “exhausted, horrified and really, really angry.” U.S. Captain Becky Sauerbrunn referred to many years of denial and the 200 painful player testimonies tugged out to determine the extent of the metastasis and publicly expose it.

Megan Rapinoe responded during a pregame press conference: “Just to have to deal with that on such an incredible occasion, to be here at Wembley and be able to participate in this game, which is so exciting—the juxtaposition is ridiculous.”

NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman in January 2023 imposed $2.9 million in fines against 6 teams and sanctions against those participating or enabling (male and female assailants; female victims):

  • 4 head coaches – lifetime ban
  • 2 general managers – suspension with conditional future employment
  • 4 head coaches – probation with conditional future employment
  • 2 assistant coaches – probation with conditional future employment
  • 6 clubs – fines between $50,000 and $1.5 million for complicity

Two teams went up for sale after their owners stepped down for ignoring years of allegations.

Contact Us

“There was not one trigger. It was incident after incident, building upon themselves, revealing the scope of the sport’s problems and leading the players to understand that the only way to bring about great change was to refuse to be silent.”

– Meg Linehan, The Athletic


The devolution began in July during the 2021 season. Despite feeling personally threatened, two players – Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim – came forward to report that Paul Riley, now the North Carolina Courage head coach, had sexually coerced them.

Riley denied all allegations and was fired within hours. Here’s what happened:

Near the end of a regular NWSL match in July 2014 between the Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars, Portland starter Sinead Farrelly was nowhere near the ball when she suddenly collapsed on the field. A few minutes later she walked off without assistance. She wasn’t limping. She was not examined for a brain injury.

Farrelly was 24, in the prime of her career. Soccer was her passion. A commentator remarked there was no clear reason why she went down. But Portland was the third team she’d played for under head coach Paul Riley, starting in Philadelphia in 2011 when she was a rookie. He would figure centrally in the mystery.

Classic Narcissism.

“He [Riley] really ingrained in my brain that I had a lot of potential, was one of the best players he’d ever seen – but I needed the right coach to get me to where I wanted to go,” Farrelly said. “And that’s what he did, he took players and he made them great” (Meg Linehan, The Athletic.)

The Atlantic reported he would give Farrelly money to buy shots when the team had drinks at a bar. He sat next to her and told her she was too beautiful to let loser guys hit on her. But at practice Riley could be abruptly harsh, one minute praising Farrelly and the next sending her off with the substitutes and telling her he doubted her abilities, before starting her in the next game and repeating the cycle again. Farrelly became obsessed with Riley’s approval.

When she was offered a spot on the national team, Riley told Farrelly she was betraying her team – she deserved to be on the national team, yes, but not unless he was coaching it. So she gave up the final spot on the 2011 World Cup roster. At the end of that season, the Philadelphia Thorns lost the WTS (World Tour Soccer) championship game. The team was sad and drank too much. Riley, 47 and married, coerced Farrelly to come to his hotel room where they had sex and agreed to take the secret to their graves.

Next season (2012) Farrelly followed Riley to Long Island [Rough Riders] and the alleged coercion continued. She left to play for the Kansas City Current but Riley “haunted her mentally and emotionally.” When he became head coach of the Portland Thorns in December 2013, “Farrelly knew he would trade for her. She could feel it coming.”


The July night she collapsed on the field in Portland in 2014, it all suddenly crystallized: “I knew I wouldn’t play another minute. I couldn’t function under him. I couldn’t function to play soccer anymore,” she said. Yet in 2021, when Farrelly and Maleana (Mana) Shim breached the code of silence and formally charged Riley – by now two-time NWSL Coach of the Year (2017-2018) – with explicit sexual assault, he denied all charges. He was fired that day.

In the next 14 months, more players breached the code of silence. “It was the beginning of a reckoning,” wrote Meg Linehan of The Athletic, who broke the story. “It was more than just hiding the truth,” she wrote. “It was putting on a happy face while doing it.” This is but one microstory.

Contact Us

About #icouldntsayno 

A Case for Women is here to help you move forward with powerful legal action. Our goal is not just to help individuals seek justice via civil legal action but to utilize the combined power of all survivors’ voices to create great change by refusing to be silent.

On the #icoudntsayno initiative, we are working with the California-based sexual assault law firm Boucher LLP. Boucher LLP accepts cases on a contingency-fee basis and will only be compensated if and when they achieve a positive settlement or verdict in your case.

If you are a female elite or professional athlete who’s been sexually harassed or assaulted by a male colleague or male authority on or off the field, please find your voice and join us to halt high-stakes sexual abuse in sports. Every new voice turns up the volume.

We wish we could rewrite the past.

Take Legal Action


Learn More About Sexual Assault Lawsuits:





Women’s Voices Carry.

Women have long expressed they are afraid to talk because no “real” rules protect them from “insanely brutal retaliation” when its her word against his. It’s time to abolish that fear.

Contact Us Now