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November 7, 2022
In 2019, following the U.S. Women’s National Team’s (USWNT) World Cup victory, head coach Jill Ellis stepped down. After the vacancy opened up many names, including Riley’s, were tossed around as possible replacements. Once Riley was publicly discussed as an option, representatives from the USWNT players’ union contacted U.S. Soccer legal counsel Lydia Wahlke and made it clear that they would not support Riley as their head coach, citing his past in Portland as the main reason.
Paulson would have a phone conversation the same day with Stephen Malik, the owner of the North Carolina Courage, about why Riley should withdraw from the running for the USWNT job. Riley was coaching the North Carolina Courage at the time, and according to the Yates report, Paulson attempted to hide the fact that Riley had been fired in Portland from Malik. Following this phone conversation Riley announced that he would not be pursuing the USWNT job on Twitter.