The Orlando Pride have placed head coach Amanda Cromwell and first assistant coach Sam Greene on administrative leave, the team announced Tuesday morning. As with April’s suspension of Houston Dash head coach/general manager James Clarkson, it comes at the recommendation of the NWSL and NWSL Players Association joint investigation team. And in the same fashion, Cromwell and Greene’s final standing with the Pride will be determined by the results of the investigation.
Assistant coach Seb Hines (a former Orlando City player who has been with the team since 2020) has been tapped to lead the team on an interim basis. Assistant coach Michelle Akers and goalkeeping coach Aline Villares Reis will continue in their roles.
The step has been taken “pending the conclusion of an investigation into alleged retaliation in violation of the NWSL Policy to Prevent and Eliminate Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying,” according to the news release.
The league has frozen any roster movement in Orlando to prevent players from being traded or waived, multiple sources told. The Athletic.
According to the policy, the league prohibits reprisal or retaliation for any of the following: “filing a good faith report under (the) Policy; supporting or assisting, in good faith, someone else in pursuing a report or in an investigation; objecting to misconduct; or filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by a governmental enforcement agency.”
The team’s actions are unrelated to the Pride’s 5-0 loss to the Houston Dash on Friday.
Cromwell was hired by the Pride in December 2021, after an NCAA coaching career including long stints with UCLA and the University of Central Florida. Both Greene and Reis followed her from her technical staff at UCLA. Akers, a former USWNT teammate, was added as an assistant and player development coach in January.
The joint investigation between the league and the PA has been open since October 2021 and was launched due to numerous reports of workplace misconduct and systemic issues across the NWSL, including The Athletic’s report on the alleged conduct of former Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley.
Clarkson was suspended from his responsibilities in Houston on April 27, and the team is still awaiting the final results of the investigation. Two days after the suspension was announced, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman told The Athletic that the joint investigation was not just examining historical issues, but also “anything that’s going on currently.”
While there are no specifics as to the timeline for completing the joint investigation (or the status of other investigations, such as the Sally Yates-led US Soccer one), Berman said, “We want to be thorough and we will be thorough, but we also want to have it conclude as expeditiously as possible. So balancing those objectives, we’ll do our best to let the process play out the way it needs to. Once it concludes, the scope of the joint investigation process includes reform and other recommendations.”
(Photo of Amanda Cromwell: Brad Penner/USA Today)