The Portland Thorns have fired trainer Pierre Soubrier after he had administered a controlled substance to a player that should be given only by a physician, the National Women’s Soccer League announced on Tuesday.
Soubrier is the husband of Thorns midfielder and U.S. women’s national team player Crystal Dunn, a Rockville Centre, N.Y. native.
His firing was another in a series of scandals involving coaches or staffs in the league.
Portland also sacked assistant coach Sophie Clough following NWSL investigations into two separate incidents.
The NWSL said it had suspended Soubrier from the league without pay immediately through the conclusion of the 2023 season. The league will also report Soubrier to the Oregon Board of Athletic Trainers (Oregon Board) and the Board of Certification
The league also has suspended Soubrier from the league without pay immediately through the conclusion of the 2023 season. The league will also report Soubrier to the Oregon Board of Athletic Trainers (Oregon Board) and the Board of Certification (BOC).
According to the NWSL, in late November, Dr. Breanne Brown, the Thorns’ team physician, reported concerns to the Portland general manager about player safety following events that took place during the 2022 NWSL playoffs. The Thorns leadership reported this incident to the league, which engaged a third-party attorney to investigate these allegations.
Dr. Brown reported that Soubier told her he had given two players a medication that contained codeine at the Thorns’ Oct. 22, semifinal. Codeine is a controlled substance that requires a prescription and should only be administered by a physician. Dr. Brown also self-reported concerns about her own conduct related to the administration of controlled substances.
Because of the imminent risk to player health and safety, the NWSL placed Soubrier on paid administrative leave, effective Dec. 7, pending the outcome of the league’s investigation by a third-party attorney.
On Tuesday, the NWSL announced that the investigator found that the concerns about Soubrier were substantiated.
“Soubrier was found to have administered the controlled substance to the players on multiple occasions without a prescription and physician supervision, which is a violation of federal and state laws and league policy,” the league said in a statement. “Further, Soubrier administered the medication to one of the players without her informed consent.
The NWSL also said that the investigator confirmed that on one occasion Dr. Brown provided Soubrier, upon his request, with access to a controlled substance to give to a Thorns’ player if needed. Dr. Brown became uncomfortable with this decision and promptly communicated to Soubrier that it should not be administered. The medication was not administered and was retrieved by Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown did not violate any federal or state law or league policy.
As for Clough, the NWSL reported that she made a player feel uncomfortable by kissing her neck at the team’s championship celebration in Washington, D.C. The league engaged a third-party attorney to investigate allegations of this inappropriate and unwanted physical contact with a player. During the investigation claims of bullying behavior by Clough were also raised.
“Following a thorough investigation, it was found that the claims of unwanted contact were substantiated in violation of league policy,” the league said in a statement. “Regarding the claims of bullying behavior, the third-party investigator found that the reports were unsubstantiated and Clough did not exceed the bounds of appropriate coaching.”