Whitecaps owners apologize, promise review on allegations against B.C. coach

‘The pain and suffering these women feel is real and something we care deeply about’ say owners

The Vancouver Whitecaps have put out a statement – this time, an apology from the team’s owners – regarding the handling of allegations of abuse against a former coach.

The allegations stem from complaints recently brought to light online by former players of the 2008 Whitecaps women’s team and Canada’s national U20 women’s team.

“As we reflect on what happened in 2008 and the blogs that have been published over the last several weeks, we express sincere regret and empathy for the harm that has clearly come to many women who participated in our program at that time,” reads a statement signed by Whitecaps co-owners Greg Kerfoot and Jeff Mallett.

The coach left both the ‘Caps and the national program a decade ago, and most recently had been coaching a youth girls team with South Surrey-based Coastal FC. When the allegations were made in February, Coastal suspended the coach.

Multiple times since then, the youth soccer association has told Black Press Media that executive members did not have knowledge of the allegations prior to the coach joining the club.

Wednesday’s statement was the third from the Major League Soccer team this month. Prior statements from the club were criticized for not expressing remorse or, in the words of the Southsiders – one of the team’s supporter groups – not “effectively addressing the requests made by the former U20 players.

The Southsiders led a walkout at BC Place during a game earlier this month.

The newest statement also offered an apology to those affected.

“The pain and suffering these women feel is real and something we care deeply about. And while we sought and acted on the advice of the best available counsel at the time, it is clear that people were deeply affected. For that we are sorry,” it reads.

Earlier this month – as part of the team’s second statement on the matter – the Whitecaps announced that they had reported the claims to the Vancouver Police Department. Later that day, the VPD confirmed to Black Press Media that they had been made aware of the situation.

The team also announced it “will conduct a thorough and independent review of our operations to ensure that we foster and enforce a culture of zero tolerance for any form of harassment or bullying.”

Many of the players involved have named the coach in question – as have other media, subsequently – though Black Press Media’s policy is to not name individuals until formal charges are laid.

Also on Wednesday, after the statement was released, the team held an invite-only press conference with Mallett that excluded many media outlets.

At the conference, Mallett told Canadian Press he’s been troubled for several weeks by the the decade-old allegations.

“We don’t like it. We’ve been losing sleep, too,” he said. “So I feel badly, especially for the women who’ve been impacted by this.”

The organization also announced that it will do an independent review of the actions taken in 2008 and make the results public.

“If the truth comes out and it’s not what we thought it was, then we’ll take action,” Mallett said.

All of the allegations will also be reviewed, he added.

Asked whether changes need to be made to the club’s front office, Mallett said he didn’t anticipate any switch ups.

”Nothing’s ruled out at this point. But looking at this issue, I don’t see that as a necessary element at this point,” he said.

Former player Ciara McCormack – the writer of the original blog post back in February – wrote on Twitter that the newest statement contained “no sincerity, no accountability + many, many unanswered questions remain.”

“Not even close 2 good enough,” she wrote.

– with files from Canadian Press



editorial@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

This week in photos | The spirit of giving comes to Haida Gwaii

Masset Lions Telethon, Queen Charlotte’s annual craft fair, Fields store coming along in Skidegate

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Masset residents receiving extra incentive to get home safe this holiday season

Masset RCMP, B.C. Liquor Store and local elementary schools team up to curb drinking and driving

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read