A British football coach who worked for the US women’s World Cup winning team has been accused of sexual misconduct towards a female player – where he allegedly groped her for bad passes.
Northern Irish coach Christy Holly has been accused of sexual misconduct in allegations detailed in an investigation carried out by an Atlanta law firm and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on behalf of the US Soccer Federation.
Just three years ago Holly worked with the triumphant US team which takes England winning Euros team at a sold out Wembley tonight (Friday).
Erin Simon, who now plays in the Women’s Super League for Leicester City, played for Racing Louisville FC between November 2020 and June of 2022 – with Holly in charge from August 2020 until August of 2021.
Simon, who agreed to have her name published in the report, has accused Holly of sending her sexually explicit photos, masturbating in her presence as well as touching her genitals and breasts each time she made an errant pass while watching a match replay together in private.
The incident was part of a “pattern of misconduct” from Holly according to the investigation, which alleged that Holly invited Simon to his house to review a game before watching pornography and masturbating in front of her. It then describes alleged events at a one-on-one film session, in which Simon says she was sexually assaulted.
The report reads: “Holly told her that he was going to touch her ‘for every pass you f****d up’ and he did. Simon tried to laugh it off, and said she would ‘not f up any more passes’.
“Then, she recalled, Holly started touching her, repeatedly pushing his hands under her pants to touch her genitals and under her bra to touch her breasts.
“She remembers she tightly crossed her legs and pushed his hand away. Simon said she tried hard ‘to keep the peace and the balance and to keep [Holly] from getting mad’.
“The video ended and she left. Simon says Holly shortly thereafter texted her: ‘You were drier than the Sahara down there’. After the session ended, [teammate Brooke] Hendrix picked Simon up, and Simon showed her the text.
“Hendrix corroborated seeing this text and described how upset and distraught Simon was that day: ‘she started crying immediately in the car’.”
Simon alleges that she told the coach that the abuse had to stop, after which he is accused of verbally abusing and making an example of her in front of her team-mates.
The 28-year-old went on to join Leicester City back in July, with Holly becoming engaged to former Sky Blue FC captain Christie Pearce.
Holly was dismissed from his role at Louisville “for cause” according to the club at the time, having previously been in charge at Sky Blue FC from 2016 until 2017, for whom Simon was then playing.
Holly, 37, who was born in Derry, was also part of the USWNT’s World Cup triumph under Jill Ellis back in 2019 in his role as an opposition analyst.
Holly was one of the main subjects of the year-long investigation alongside two other National Women’s Soccer League coaches, with NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman saying that the league plans to “immediately” review the independent investigation.
In reference to the leading in general, the report says it is “a league in which abuse and misconduct — verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct — had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims”.