NWSL's Mana Shim returns to the league on a short-term contract
Content warning: This section contains mention of sexual misconduct.
The GIST: NWSL changemaker Mana Shim returned to the league yesterday, signing a short-term contract with NJ/NY Gotham FC and making her first roster appearance since 2018 in yesterday’s 2–1 win over the Chicago Red Stars. Incredible.
The context: In 2021, Shim and her former Portland Thorns teammate Sinead Farrelly publicly accused their former coach Paul Riley of sexual misconduct. Their bravery prompted investigations that uncovered widespread abuse throughout the league, as detailed in the October 2022 Sally Yates report.
- Five coaches, including Riley, were fired or resigned after Farrelly and Shim spoke out, and in 2023, Riley and three other former coaches were permanently banned from the NWSL.
- In the wake of the report and a separate investigation, the league and its players union vowed to adopt new measures to protect players. Shim was named Chair of U.S. Soccer’s Participant Safety Taskforce, a full-time role devoted to developing the Safe Soccer Clearance program and one she’ll retain while playing with Gotham.
Zooming out: Among Shim’s Gotham teammates is the aforementioned Farrelly, who returned to the NWSL earlier this season after a nearly eight-year hiatus. Last night marked the first time in 2,851 days that the midfielders featured on the same game-day roster. Head first, fearless.