LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Wearing teal, holding large signs and standing in silence - soccer fans in Louisville hoped to send a message Wednesday night to the leadership of Racing Louisville FC.
“This is heartbreaking for us to stand here quietly,” Hope McPherson with Lavender Legion, a Racing support group, said. “No drums, no chants, no joy.”
The more than 300-page report revealed several soccer organizations, including Racing Louisville, had turned a blind eye to the allegations.
Cody Ruth, a season ticket holder for both Lou City and Racing, said he won’t be in the stands next year.
“I’m not putting one more dollar toward this club, this team, than what I’ve already sunk, and I expect big changes to happen for that to change,” Ruth said.
Supporters left several chalk drawings outside of Lynn Family Stadium calling for President James O’Connor to be fired.
“There’s obviously a lot of anger right now and I think the club needs to recognize that anger and communicate more because people don’t do this unless there’s a lot of feelings,” season ticket holder Trevor Mason said.
Supporters also want Holly in jail.
“Christy Holly should have left in handcuffs, but instead, he left in silence,” Catherine Greene with the Lou City Ladies, a Lou City support group, said.
They say the disappointment is heavy, but not heavier than the burden they say players have held on to for so long.
“We see you. We love you,” McPherson said. “We are furious for you and we’re here for you. Tell us how we can help you, what we can do as a fanbase to support you.”
O'Connor released a statement late Wednesday afternoon:
The U.S. Soccer-released Sally Yates report which was published earlier this week served as a harsh reminder that appointing Christy Holly as Racing Louisville FC’s first coach was a mistake. We have learned from that mistake, and we apologize to Erin Simon, to our players past and present and to our fans.
We commend Erin for her bravery in coming forward as part of U.S. Soccer’s investigation. And while our former coach was terminated within 24 hours of us being alerted to the behavior, we know that wasn’t enough and that we failed our locker room by creating a space where this behavior could occur.
We have worked hard every day since then to ensure a safe environment that puts players in a position to succeed. This includes implementation of club-wide anonymous reporting services and a re-evaluated hiring process for staff.
We will cooperate with the ongoing NWSL/NWSLPA joint investigation and welcome recommendations to improve our organization for the betterment of players. The Joint Investigative Team may be contacted at NWSL_Investigation@cov.com or you may reach out to the NWSL or NWSLPA directly or through any other club and league reporting channels.
We are not the same club that we were in August of 2021. We now owe it to our players and community to prove it.
Taylor Otto said she and other players went to leadership with their concerns before Holly was fired and wants to know how the organization is going to create a safer environment.