Multiple former Bears have come forth with allegations of verbal and mental abuse against Cal women’s soccer head coach Neil McGuire.
Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU investigated these claims of mistreatment, airing a special report titled “Surviving the Game” on Sunday.
Former players Hannah Koski, Olivia Sekany, Renee Thomas, Caroline Clark and Indigo Gibson are among the many to speak out against McGuire, who has served as the program’s head coach for 13 years. The five athletes shared experiences that included fat-shaming, bullying and intimidation, to name a few.
During one 2018 incident referred to as “Raingate,” McGuire allegedly forced his players to run until they felt sick or fainted as punishment for disobeying his orders not to practice in the rain. Sekany and Clark — teammates at the time — recounted similar accounts of the workout.
“I got super light headed,” Clark said in an interview with KTVU. “I was laying on the training table with my feet up to help with the situation. And it was first me, then one more girl came down to put her feet up, then one more girl came down to put her feet up, and by the end of it there was just a row of girls about to pass out. Because he was overworking us so hard and no one understood why.”
In 2019, the former Bears took action by filing formal complaints to Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton, but to no avail.
“We have spoken with our coaches, student-athletes, departments staff, campus staff, parents of current Cal Women’s Soccer athletes, and others who interact with the Women’s Soccer program,” Knowlton wrote in an email, “(and) found that your allegations were not validated.”
The former athletes then reached out to the media.
“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,” Cal Athletics said in a statement. “We wish that were not the case given how seriously we take claims of this sort.”
This is a developing story.
Ryan Chien covers women’s soccer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.