Houston Dash suspends head coach and general manager after discrimination, harassment investigation

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston's major league women's soccer team, the Dash announced on Tuesday that it suspended the team's head coach and general manager.

The decision comes after James Clarkson was accused of discrimination and harassment.

The team did not say who it plans to name as interim head coach. However, ABC13 learned the decision will be made by the Dash themselves and not the league. Although, a decision will not be announced before the season opener against the San Diego Wave on Sunday, May 1.

Additionally, as part of the new initiative by the Women's National Soccer League all personnel, including interim head coaches, will be subject to a background check. It is to ensure a healthy work environment with all who work directly with players, the league says.

The investigation into Clarkson is aimed to "review current and historic complaints of discrimination, harassment, and abuse," the team said in a statement.



The team received initial findings from a joint investigation by the NWSL and the league's Players Association that began in 2021. The Dash says it will wait on the final report before deciding on Clarkson's future.

In a joint release, the NWSL and NWSLPA recommended that Clarkson be "suspended immediately pending the conclusion" of the investigation. The league's commissioner, Jessica Berman, thanked Dash owner Ted Segal and president Jessica O'Neill for taking swift action, and for their cooperation with the Joint Investigative Teams' recommendation.

"I want to thank the players and staff throughout the league who have participated in the overall investigation thus far, and assure them, as well as our fans and partners, that we will deliver on our promise to create a workplace where players and staff are empowered to succeed in a healthy and safe environment," Berman added.

Before Clarkson became the head coach of the Dash in 2019, he was the academy director for the Houston Dynamo and coached the Dynamo's club development lead affiliate.

The team will not be making any public statements but did say that there are counseling services being provided to the players and the staff.

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