Fox 2/KTVU, the local Fox station in the Bay Area, released a reported on Sunday detailing allegations of verbal abuse within the Cal Women’s Soccer program from the past decade. Fox 2/KTVU interviewed a number of current and former players from the program about the behavior of head coach Neil McGuire, who is in his 13th season in charge of the team.
According to KTVU, multiple players reached out to administration at the school in regards to McGuire’s behavior. The university declined to make anyone from the athletic department available for an interview and cited pending litigation.
Former player Renee Thomas is suing the university following being cut from the team after her freshman season. Thomas was a non-scholarship player during her freshman season in 2018. She played 304 minutes during the season, but she was one of five players cut from the team in the spring even though she was awarded the “most improved player” award at the team banquet. The text of the lawsuit can be viewed here.
The case was dismissed from the district court in March of 2020.
Cal did confirm to KTVU that the university was looking into the allegations that the news station brought forth during their report.
California is 18-17-5 over the last two seasons and has not made it past the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the last decade.
The California program has a large recruiting class for 2021, and has a couple of highly ranked recruits lined up for 2022.
California is not alone in verbal abuse allegations from the women's soccer program. Former Grand Canyon University players accused their coach of ruling ‘by fear’ in a report that came out in 2019.
According to the report, Cal Athletics responded to the story with this statement:
"Cal Athletics is regrettably unable to respond to allegations that involve personnel issues, privacy rights, student conduct issues, and/or pending litigation, regardless of whether or not the allegations are accurate.
We wish that were not the case given how seriously we take claims of this sort. There is nothing more important to us than the health and well-being of our student-athletes. Cal Athletics has a primary objective to support and grow the overall student-athlete experience – academically, athletically and developmentally – and it is a responsibility that extends through our coaches, staff, student-athletes and the entire university.
We have in place best-practice policies and protocols that enable Cal Athletics to respond quickly and comprehensively when there are allegations of misconduct and/or behavior by coaches that is inconsistent with our values and/or relevant rules and policies. When issues arise, student-athletes have avenues both within and outside the department to seek support."