Utah Royals Hansen, Harrington Named In NWSL Investigation

Oct 4, 2022, 11:56 AM | Updated: Oct 5, 2022, 8:35 am
Dell Loy Hansen - Real Salt Lake...
Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen in Herriman on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Real Salt Lake & Utah Royals owner Dell Loy Hansen and former Utah Royals manager Craig Harrington have both been named in an investigation into systemic abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The investigation explains how multiple individuals described Hansen as “touchy” and “stroking their cheeks and holding their hands.” One of these women contacted league personnel about Hansen’s actions and stated that Hansen asked her about her sexuality and if she was dating someone on the team.

According to the investigation, Harrington made inappropriate sexualized jokes and comments to staff and players. During his 10-month managerial stint at the Royals, the report says Harrington made a “joke” to a player about having sex in her recently purchased van.

He also made a comment to a player and a staff member about how “taking care of children is a women’s job,” Harrington did not recall making the comment but admitted the comments were made flippantly and not meant to be hurtful.

Harrington was released by the Royals in November 2020, just 10 months after being announced as the club’s manager.

Hansen, who was accused of making racial remarks in August 2020, put the team up for sale shortly after the allegations surfaced. He sold the team to Kansas City a year later.

The report concludes that U.S. Soccer “failed” women players as it uncovered systemic abuse and misconduct across the league. The investigation into Hansen and Harrington was just a small sample of a league-wide investigation in which multiple clubs have been found of misconduct.

Interestingly, a recent report by Jeff Kassouf of ESPN states that the Utah Royals are expected to return to the NWSL in 2024. New Real Salt Lake owners David Blitzer and Ryan Smith both publically noted their intention of returning the Royals to Utah during their introductory press conference in January of 2020 and noted that it would be a matter of “when” and not “if”.

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