In wake of the Paul Riley controversy, the National Women’s Soccer League announced Friday matches scheduled for this weekend will not occur.

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird made the announcement in a statement.

“This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played,” Baird said. “I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling. Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect. Business as usual isn’t our concern right now.”

Baird also was referring to the role she played in which she did not take any action on allegations by players, even though she knew about them.

“Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better,” she added in a statement.” We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association and this pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue.”

The five matches were: Racing Louisville FC vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit, Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride, Kansas City vs. Houston Dash and Portland Thorns Fc vs. OL Reign.

Riley, who lived on Long Island for more than 30 years before he moved to North Carolina, was fired by the North Carolina Courage Thursday in wake of the sexual coercion allegations reported Thursday morning, the North Carolina Courage has fired head coach Paul Riley.

National Women’s Soccer League commissioner Lisa Baird, who made the announcement Thursday afternoon, said the league was reporting the “allegations to the US Center for SafeSport for investigation.”

Also on Thursday, U.S. Soccer. announced it has suspended Riley’s coaching license.

Baird added that the league has mandated that league and team staff who regularly interact with players participate in training conducted by the US Center for SafeSport, and is further mandating background checks and additional screening for those same individuals.

Addressing Riley’s termination, the Courage said, in a statement, that it had given Riley the boot “following very serious allegations of misconduct.”

“The Courage support the players who have come forward and we commend them for bravely sharing their sotries,” the statement said. “The North Carolina Football Club is united together in our commitment to creating a safe, positive, and respectful environment, not only within our club but across the legaue and our great sport.”

Sean Nahas, a former standout in the Long Island Junior Soccer League, was named interim North Carolina coach for the remainder of the season.

In a statement released Thursday night, U.S. Soccer said that it was “deeply disturbed by the recent reports of misconduct in the NWSL. The abusive behavior described by the courageous athletes who have come forward is repulsive, unacceptable and has zero place in soccer or society.

“These are serious allegations and these athletes – and all the players in the NWSL – have our unequivocal support. U.S. Soccer is in communication with the NWSL as they review this matter and will work with them to ensure meaningful steps are taken to ensure a safe and supportive environment across the league.”

On Thursday morning, The Athletic reported that had been accused of sexual coercion by former players he has coached on several women’s teams. Those players included Sinead Farrelly, Mana Shim and Kaiya McCullough.

According to a story by Meg Linehan, one of the players, Sinead Farrelly played for Riley on the Philadelphia Independence, New York fury and Portland Thorns. Farrelly said she “felt under his control.”

In the story that was posted Thursday, Farrelly related several incidents in which she felt she was coerced into having sex with her coach.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at