Portland Thorns fire athletic assistant coach and assistant coach after NWSL investigation into misconduct

the Portland thistles The team announced on Tuesday that it had fired athletic coach Pierre Sobrier and assistant coach Sophie Clough following the National Football League’s investigations into two separate incidents in which they were involved.

Soubrier was investigated by the NWSL for administering codeine-containing medication to players in the team’s semifinal match against the San Diego Wave on October 22. Clough was investigated for giving an unwanted kiss to a player’s neck during the NWSL Championship celebration on October 29. Both incidents were reported by the Thorns to the NWSL.

The allegations against both Soubrier and Clough were proven by NWSL investigators in violation of league policy. The league recommended a year’s unpaid leave for both Soubrier and Clough, but the club went so far as to cancel them.

“Portland Thorns FC remains committed to following all NWSL policies,” the Thorns said in a statement provided to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “The club has notified the league and has cooperated fully with the league’s investigation into allegations of misconduct by athletic coach Pierre Soubrier and assistant coach Sophie Clough. Upon receiving the final results of the NWSL investigation, the club has terminated the employment of both Soubrier and Clough. The health and safety of the players is our highest priority.”

Soubrier is the husband of Thorns midfielder Crystal Dunn and was named the team’s head athletic coach in 2019. The NWSL also found in its investigation that team physician Breanne Brown supplied Soubrier with a separate controlled substance at his request, but he later became uncomfortable with it and told Soubrier that he should not manage it. The league found that Dr. Brown did not violate the law or university policy.

The league found that in the case of the drug containing codeine, one was given to two players without informed consent.

The league’s investigative report stated that “Sobrier was found to have administered the controlled substance to players on multiple occasions without a prescription and medical supervision, in violation of federal and state laws and league policy.” “Moreover, Sobrier administered medication to one of the players without her informed consent.”

Clough joined the club as assistant coach under Mark Parsons in 2016 and remained on staff during manager Ryan Wilkinson’s only season with the Thorns. Allegations of bullying behavior by Clough towards players were also investigated by the NWSL but are unsubstantiated.

Tuesday’s shooting is the latest chapter in a series of scandals that have plagued the Thorns in the past 16 months, dating back to revelations in 2021 that former coach Paul Riley sexually harassed and coerced former players Mana Chim and Sinead Farrelly. Since then, I have encountered thorns Multiple investigationsfired executives Mike Golub And Gavin Wilkinsonhe won NWSL Championship Watch Ryan Wilkinson suddenly quit, climaxing Merritt Paulson He steps down as CEO and later announces that he is selling Thorns.

Just last month, Ryan Wilkinson — who led the Thorns to the title in her first season as coach — Resigned After an NWSL investigation cleared her of an alleged relationship with player Emily Mengs. The two expressed mutual romantic feelings for each other via text messages.

The thorns were too He was fined $1 million by the NWSL for the club’s role in Riley’s alleged abuse of players.

Poulson has not provided an update on his efforts to sell the Thorns since announcing in December the sale of the club.

– Ryan Clarke, rclarke@oregonian.com, Twitter: @tweet

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