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Former Whitecaps coach faces allegations of sexual misconduct

Allegations against Hubert Busby Jr. made an interview with British newspaper the Guardian
Numerous seats sit empty after Vancouver Whitecaps fans left their seats during an in-game walkout protest to show support for members of the 2008 women’s Whitecaps and under-20 Canadian national team who have alleged abuse by a former coach who ran both teams, as the Whitecaps play the Philadelphia Union during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Vancouver, on Saturday April 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A former Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team head coach is facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

Former Whitecaps player Malloree Enoch detailed the allegations against Hubert Busby Jr. to The Guardian, a U.K.-based newspaper.

Enoch accused Busby of trying to solicit sex from her under the guise of recruiting her to play for the Whitecaps. Busby has denied the allegations.

Speaking to the Guardian, Enoch said that she was subjected to multiple instances of inappropriate behaviour by Busby. While Enoch tried to make the team, she was flown to “events” across North America. Busby would say Enoch would be meeting with other Whitecaps players and staff, but instead, only Busby was present and on multiple occasions, Enoch was made to share a hotel room with him after Busby claimed there was a booking issue.

On one of those occasions, Enoch said Busby attempted to force himself on her.

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Enoch was eventually signed to the Whitecaps in 2011. She said that once she joined the team, Busby became uninterested in her.

After that season ended, multiple Whitecaps players, including Enoch, emailed club officials detailing their complaints against Busby. The Whitecaps hired an ombudsman to investigate the complaints, which led to Busby leaving the club. The Whitecaps told the players it was “not appropriate” to discuss the move publicly, including on social media.

Enoch said she was reluctant to speak out about her experience at the time because she did not want to jeopardize her chances of playing with the Whitecaps. At the time, playing for the Whitecaps was considered the only way to make it to the Canadian national team and compete in the Olympics.

Whitecaps CEO Axel Schuster said in a statement that the Whitecaps are greatly disturbed by the details of the allegations against Busby and apologized for not doing enough to protect players from sexual misconduct.

“The courage it takes to come forward cannot be overstated. We respect Malloree’s bravery, appreciate her honesty, and support her entirely. We apologize to Malloree for letting her down.”

Schuster added that the Whitecaps communication to players about the investigation into Busby’s departure was “inadequate” and said the club should have done better.

“Moving forward, Major League Soccer will be engaging independent counsel to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation. We are committed to cooperating with that review so that we may understand what potential failings occurred and ensure something like this never happens again. The findings and recommendations of that review will be made public. Any current members of the executive team who were involved in these matters have been placed on administrative leave while we implement next steps in this review,” Schuster said.

Black Press Media has reached out to the Jamaican Football Federation and Busby for comment.

Busby went on to coach for the Seattle Sounders and has been the head coach of the Jamaica women’s national team since 2020.

Busby is not the only former Whitecaps coach to face allegations of sexual misconduct.

RELATED: Ex-Vancouver Whitecaps women’s coach facing sex assault charges

Former Whitecaps coach Bob Birarda is scheduled to appear in B.C. provincial court on six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child luring that he allegedly committed over his coaching career.

Those allegations were brought to light in a series of blog posts by former Whitecaps player Ciara McCormack. At least 14 other former players detailed allegations against Birarda, who left the club in 2008. After leaving the Whitecaps, Birarda went on to coach elite girls’ teams for Canada Soccer.

Former Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi was made aware of the allegations; however, McCormack and other players say the club did little to take the allegations seriously.

“Being silenced + gaslit is exhausting but I will not stop until people are held accountable for this ridiculous saga we’ve been put through for the last 14 years, and kids in soccer in Canada and everywhere are safe,” McCormack said in a Tweet.