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Former Houston Dash player says, ‘accusations against Vera Pauw are ridiculous’

Republic of Ireland Manager Vera Pauw during a press conference at FAI HQ in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Lars Van SoestIndependent.ie

Vera Pauw (59) has received support from one of her former players, Janine van Wyk (35) who called the allegations against her former coach "ridiculous”.

According to a report published this week about abuses in the American women's soccer league, Pauw was guilty of weight-shaming during her time at Houston Dash, something that is vehemently denied by herself and now refuted by a former player of the club.

"The accusations against Vera are ridiculous," South African record international Van Wyk stated unequivocally. "Vera is one of the best women's coaches in the world right now and I am proud to have worked with her."

Van Wyk, who also worked with Pauw on the national team, praised Dutch's professionalism.

"That comes with high standards and high demands. It is always Vera's intention to get the best out of an individual so that the team will benefit. Certain players may have mistaken this for a certain kind of abuse because they may not have been challenged enough by other coaches at an earlier stage to get the most out of themselves."

Janine van Wyk in her time with Houston Dash. ⒸANP/HH

Pauw, who was at the helm at Houston Dash in 2018, is suspected in the report of encouraging players to eat less so they would lose weight.

"But those statements are not based on the truth," Van Wyk said. "On the contrary, I remember Vera always encouraging us as players to eat more before a game so we had more fuel on board. Right after practices, she also invariably made sure we drank a protein shake to refill our tank so we could get back at it the next day."

Van Wyk's comments echo the statement of Pauw, who already said in conversation with De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, that the well-being of her players has been her main concern throughout her career.

"Nutrition is a hugely important aspect within professional soccer and my advice to players has always been to pay close attention to themselves, their nutrition and their health. Just like they should always seek advice from experts. The only discussion about nutrition was that players needed to eat more before and after matches. To be fit and recover well. I commented on that once because the medical staff was not present, but I had discussed that with them beforehand at the time."


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