Thorns fire trainer, assistant coach for alleged misconduct

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:56 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - In the wake of a report that shook the professional soccer world, Portland’s women’s soccer team is now facing more scrutiny.

Both the National Women’s Soccer League and the Portland Thorns have confirmed the team’s head athletic trainer and one of the assistant coaches were recently fired for misconduct.

On Tuesday, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) published findings from its investigation into recent misconduct complaints within the Thorns organization.

This is the third scandal in recent months surrounding the successful soccer franchise. According to the NWSL’s findings, the first complaint involves one of the Thorns’ athletic trainers, Pierre Soubrier.

He is accused of giving unprescribed medication containing codeine to a player during the playoffs this past season.

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The second complaint involves assistant coach, Sophie Clough.

The report says she made a player feel uncomfortable by kissing her on the neck after the team won the NWSL championship in Washington D.C. in November.

For Thorns season ticketholder P.J. Gibson, it is shocking, but he says he will still keep showing up to games.

“I’m still going to keep my season tickets, we’re pretty loyal,” said Gibson. “I was pretty surprised to be honest. I thought it was the old news coming out about the former head coach who resigned.”

This latest scandal comes after former head coach Rhian Wilkinson resigned last month after she revealed she and a Thorns player expressed a romantic interest in one another.

And prior to that, a bombshell scandal that came to light back in September, that alleged former Thorns head coach Paul Riley sexually harassed multiple thorns players back in 2015.

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A spokesperson for the Thorns released the following statement about this latest scandal which reads:

Portland Thorns FC remain committed to following all NWSL policies. The club reported to the league and fully cooperated with the league’s investigation into the allegations of misconduct by head athletic trainer Pierre Soubrier and assistant coach Sophie Clough. Upon receiving the NWSL’s final investigative findings, the club has terminated the employment of both Soubrier and Clough. The health and safety of the players is our utmost priority.

Despite another setback, fan P.J. Gibson says he and his soccer fan friends are hoping for another successful season in 2023.

“My hope is that it doesn’t affect the players on the field or the feel of the organization as a whole.”