On Fire

Half Mag / Half Zine

The United States Soccer Federation has confirmed it has suspended the coaching license of Brad Evans following a Guardian investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by the former University of Toledo head coach.

US Soccer said Evans has also been blocked from accessing the federation’s learning center and removed from any study groups or courses he was in. In addition, the federation has notified SafeSport and the leadership at the Ohio Soccer Association, where Evans was employed after stepping down from the Toledo job in 2015.

Evans was informed of all these actions on Wednesday, US Soccer said.

The three-month investigation by Matthew Hall into Evans’ alleged misconduct published Wednesday morning relied on interviews with former players, coaches, University of Toledo staff, and families of former students to reveal for the first time the circumstances behind the coach’s abrupt departure from the Ohio university, how the school managed reports about his behavior, and how he was still allowed to hold prominent positions within the game in the United States.

The Guardian also heard multiple allegations by former players and coaches of sexual assault and harassment by Evans and how they were unable to report inappropriate behavior or, if they did, how those reports were marginalized by a system that was supposed to protect them.

Evans served as head coach at Toledo for 13 years before he resigned in 2015. Since then, he’s resurfaced in leadership roles in youth soccer and education, serving as the head of coaching education for the Ohio Soccer Association and coaching in the Olympic Development Program in addition to his work as a US Soccer instructor.

One of the former players and coaches to be interviewed was Candice Fabry, who recalled an 2007 incident when she was assaulted by Evans in a restaurant bathroom when meeting with the coach, his wife and another member of the coaching staff to accept a role as an unpaid assistant coach.

“I remember my back against the wall. I remember his tongue in my mouth. I remember feeling him pushed up against my body. I remember his tongue. I remember his hands in my pants and in my underwear. And that’s where I leave my body,” Fabry told the Guardian.

Other former Toledo players and coaches said that Evans routinely made comments about their breasts and weight in addition to fostering a culture of drinking in the program.

When Evans stepped down as head coach of the Toledo’s women’s team in 2015, a brief announcement by the school’s athletic director gave no reason for the sudden departure, but a statement by Evans published by a local television station the same day referred to relationships with multiple co-workers. “It was clear that my interactions with those co-workers demonstrated poor judgment on my part, and were against university policy, and resigning was best for all involved,” Evans wrote.

Two years after his resignation, Evans accepted multiple roles with the Ohio North Youth Soccer Association and its Olympic Development Program and as a US Soccer coaching instructor.

The University of Toledo did not respond to specific questions from the Guardian about allegations by former players and coaches in this story. In an emailed statement Adrienne King, the school’s vice-president of marketing and communications, wrote:

UToledo did conduct an investigation following a report by a student-athlete in January 2015 of verbal harassment by Brad Evans, who was at the time the Head Coach of the women’s soccer team. The investigation did find that Mr. Evans’ conduct toward student-athletes may have violated the University’s Standards of Conduct policy, however, the case was not referred for possible disciplinary action because by the conclusion of the investigation in March 2015, Mr. Evans had already resigned his position effective Feb. 23, 2015.

On Wednesday, Fabry shared the article and tweeted, “I was groomed, humiliated, manipulated, & sexually assaulted. I was not the only one.”

A second instalment of the Guardian’s two-part investigation was due to be published on Thursday.

Brad Evans did not respond to multiple requests for an interview or emailed questions regarding specific allegations contained in this story. He did provide a statement by to the Guardian about his departure from the University of Toledo:

In 2015 I was asked to answer questions about my relationships with some past co-workers. It was clear that my interactions with those co-workers demonstrated poor judgment on my part, and were against university policy, and resigning was best for all involved.

With the help of counseling, I have learned a lot about the causes of my behavior. I am extremely lucky to have the support of my wife in this process. Together, I continue to learn to become a better person.

I am deeply sorry to have disappointed so many individuals, but I continue to work on making a positive future.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide my perspective.