Following two NWSL investigations into claims of misconduct, the Thorns announced that head athletic trainer Pierre Soubrier and assistant coach Sophie Clough have been fired.
“Portland Thorns FC remain committed to following all NWSL policies,” the Thorns said in a statement to The Oregonian. “The club reported to the league and fully cooperated with the league’s investigation into the allegations of misconduct by head athletic trainer Pierre Soubrier and assistant coach Sophie Clough. Upon receiving the NWSL’s final investigative findings, the club has terminated the employment of both Soubrier and Clough. The health and safety of the players is our utmost priority.”
The investigation on Soubrier began after he was reportedly giving out medication with codeine in it during the team’s semifinal playoff match in October. He did not have a prescription for the medication. Soubrier gave the medication to two players, one without consent.
“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’s investigative report reads. “Further, Soubrier administered the medication to one of the players without her informed consent.”
Soubrier, who has been with the team since 2019, is the husband of Thorns midfielder Crystal Dunn.
The investigation into Clough was prompted by a report that she gave an unwanted kiss to a player’s neck while the Thorns celebrated their 2022 NWSL championship title. The assistant coach was also investigated for bullying. Clough began working with the team in ’16.
The two firings come after various changes in Thorns management due to the NWSL investigation’s findings of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct within the franchise and league. The Thorns’ longtime president of soccer and general manager Gavin Wilkinson and president of business Mike Golub were both relieved of their duties. Previously, Thorns owner Merritt Paulson stepped down following reports on his role in the cover-up of accounts of sexual abuse and coercion involving former coach Paul Riley, who was fired by the North Carolina Courage in September 2021 in response to the allegations.