North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley was fired Friday amid allegations of misconduct, which led to a postponement of NWSL games this weekend. Photo courtesy of BDZ Sports/Wikimedia Commons
Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The National Women's Soccer League postponed its five scheduled matches this weekend to give players and coaches "space to reflect" amid an investigation into misconduct allegations made against former coach Paul Riley.
The North Carolina Courage fired Riley on Thursday. The Courage cited a report in The Athletic when they announced the move.
More than dozen players spoke to The Athletic and accused the coach of sexual coercion and making inappropriate comments about players' weight and sexual orientation.
Riley denied the allegations in the report.
"This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played," NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said Friday in a news release.
"I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling. Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect."
Friday's games between the Courage and Washington Spirit and between Racing Louisville and Gotham FC were the first to be postponed.
The Chicago Red Stars, Orlando Pride, Kansas City, Houston Dash, Portland Thorns FC and OL Reign had their Saturday matchups postponed.
"Business as usual isn't our concern right now," Baird said. "Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better.
"We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association and this pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue."