A graphic for the Religion of Sports/PRX podcast "Counterattack." A graphic for the Religion of Sports/PRX podcast “Counterattack.”

One of the most dramatic player-led changes in recent years came in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2021. That started with an Athletic article exploring multiple allegations of sexual coercion and abuse against coach Paul Riley, including from named players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim. It led to players refusing to play the next weekend in protest of the NWSL’s muted response, and to Riley, four other coaches, several team executives, and league commissioner Lisa Baird and general counsel Lisa Levine all losing their jobs.

Now, that long saga, and Farrelly’s return to playing in the dramatically-changed league this March after seven years away, is set for discussion in a new Counterattack podcast. That podcast, the latest one to come out of the partnership between Religion of Sports and PRX, is hosted by legendary U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Briana Scurry. Its first episode of six is out now, with others to follow Thursdays for the next five weeks. Here’s more on it from a release:

“Counterattack” discusses professional player’s Sinead Farrelly’s experiences with the dark side of the league that ultimately led to an early retirement after a stellar career. But in 2021, she and her former teammate, Mana Shim, took their power back—by telling their story.

Their courageous decision to go public inspired other players to come forward and led to a reckoning within the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Following their revelations, half of the league’s head coaches either resigned in disgrace or were fired.

In March 2023, after seven years away, Farrelly returned to the league that she now helped transform and signed with New York’s Gotham FC. This April, she was also called up to and became a starter for the Irish Women’s National Team.

Listeners will hear directly from Farrelly and other women whose experience and choices have changed women’s sports forever.

This will be the first time audiences have the opportunity to hear Farrelly’s personal, intimate account in her own words.

And here’s a trailer for the podcast:

This follows several previous podcast partnerships between Religion of Sports and non-profit public media company PRX, including Roughhousing (hazing in youth sports), False Idol (Oscar Pistorius), Crushed (steroids in MLB), Lost In Sports (unusual moments in sports history and culture), and interview show In The Moment With David Greene. The first episode of Counterattack is available now on the Religion of Sports Presents feed. It can be found on Apple Podcasts here.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.