Chicago Red Stars hire Chris Petrucelli as new head coach

Lizzy Becherano
Chicago Red Stars will now be lead by Chris Petrucelli following Dames resignation
Chicago Red Stars will now be lead by Chris Petrucelli following Dames resignation / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Chicago Red Stars name new head coach after allegations of emotional abuse and sexual misconduct from their previous manager came to light. 

 Long-time college coach Chris Petrucelli will now lead the NWSL side as it prepares to kick off the 2022 season on March 19 with the Challenge Cup. 

Petrucelli previously managed Southern Methodist University for nine seasons, and 13 seasons leading the University of Texas.

"We are excited to start a new chapter for the club with Chris as our head coach. The importance of this hire is immeasurable," said Vicky Lynch, the Red Stars' chief business officer.

"That is why I am incredibly proud that several of our players played an integral role as key members of the search committee."

The hiring comes after the former coach Rory Dames resigned in November amid allegations of abuse from players and staff. 

A report from the Washington Post that included statements from current players in the league and details of a formal complaint striker Christen Press filed to the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2018 inspired the team to conduct an investigation into Dames. 

Last week the Post unveiled new reports of abuse from Dames, alleging that as a youth coach, he groomed teenagers for sex and prompted a player to file a police report about his behavior in 1998.

Several USWNT veterans issued a letter accusing U.S. Soccer of 'wilful inaction', having 'stood by as abuse continued to occur unchecked'.

Red Stars lead owner Arnim Whisler responded by issuing an apology and promised to be accountable for what happens at the club. The NWSL team also admitted to including players and a sports psychologist in the search committee for a new head coach. 

Now, the team hopes to bring about a new chapter with Petrucelli. 

"Being graced with the opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world is a position any coach would jump at," Petrucelli said in a statement.

"I know there's work to do. I'm excited to get started helping the team accomplish their goals while fostering an environment of joy and positivity." 

The Red Stars return to the pitch on March 20 when visiting the Houston Dash.