Wednesday Dec 23, 2020

Episode 57: “Our Passion Was Used Against Us” with Ciara McCormack, Part I

**Content warning: this episode discusses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse within Canadian soccer.**

In this episode of The End of Sport, Johanna and Derek are joined by Ciara McCormack, a former professional soccer player with the Vancouver Whitecaps and whistleblower on abuses within the Canadian soccer system, about the physical emotional abuse that former coach Bob Birarda inflicted upon players.

In the first of a two-part show, Ciara details her own background in soccer and what led to her professional career in Vancouver before shifting focus to her whistleblowing on the harms being done to athletes in the system. The show then quickly turns to a discussion of everything leading up to Ciara’s decision to post a widely influential blog in 2019, “A Horrific Canadian Soccer Story.” Ciara paints a bleak and absolutely necessary picture of problems in Canadian soccer, Canadian sport more generally, and a system that is built upon the centralization of top-down power in the sport. And…as you would expect, we even get into media complicity in the whole thing.

Ciara McCormack is a former college and professional soccer player who played soccer at Yale University and the University Connecticut, and later professionally for a wide variety of top teams for 7 years ranging from the Boston Renegades and Vancouver Whitecaps Women to teams in Denmark, Norway, and Australia. She also played for the Republic of Ireland from 2008-2014. She was the 1st Canadian player to make it to the Champions League Final. To top off her achievements, she also has a whopping total of 3 Master’s degrees on subjects related to women’s soccer.

Importantly, Ciara has spoken out publicly about the verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse that she experienced on the Whitecaps and in Canadian soccer. Finally, Ciara is the founder of Girls Can Soccer and TOPP Soccer, both of which we will certainly get to in the interview.

Stay tuned for Part II next week!

You can find Ciara on Twitter!



For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Updated semi-regularly Credit @punkademic)

Show Producer: Tristan Loper

After listening to the episode, check out our most recent pieces:

“College Football Feels All Too Normal During the Pandemic” in TIME Magazine

“College Football in a Pandemic Reveals our Capacity for Trumpism” in The Baffler

“Red-Scare Rhetoric Isn’t Gone From Histories of American Sport” in Jacobin Magazine

"Canceling the College-Football Season Isn't Enough" published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“'We are being gaslit': College football and Covid-19 are imperiling athletes” in The Guardian

“Canceling the college football season is about union busting, not health” also in The Guardian


As always, please like, share, and rate us on your favorite podcast app, and give follow us on Twitter or Instagram.





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