Matt Fannon, a former coach at Iowa State for women’s soccer, has been accused of mistreating players by creating a toxic environment, verbally abusing, and body shaming them. A former goalkeeper, Cora Anderson, came forward with these allegations after an investigation by the Des Moines Register revealed other players who used to be coached by him were also victims of mistreatment. Anderson alleges that Fannon made her play despite being hurt, and tried to eliminate her from the team after she was diagnosed with a medical condition that causes breathing issues. Anderson was attending Iowa State on a scholarship, and it is a violation of the NCAA to force any player off a team due to illness.
Claims of abuse were initially made by Olivia Wee, a former Iowa State soccer player, along with eight other former program members who spoke out with the condition of being anonymous. A former player at Bowling Green State University raised allegations of this nature as well, a university where Fannon had coached previously. Fannon has not yet responded to numerous email requests for an interview. Iowa State rejected a request to access open record Title IX complaints related to Fannon. The college would not say if they were investigating these claims, and Fannon is expected to remain under their contract through the 2024 season so far.
After Cora Anderson was diagnosed with vocal cord dysfunction, she states Fannon attempted to remove her from the soccer team. The condition, which gave her asthma-like symptoms, kept her from passing a fitness test even though she took medication and underwent two rounds of speech therapy. Anderson says that Fannon did not respond to her health concerns seriously, was brash with her, and tried to kick her off the soccer team during a meeting. After talking with Fannon, she was told she could remain on the team, however, would never play again, was not welcome, and advised to transfer. Anderson left the team a month later.
Other claims against Fannon entail disregarding doctor’s orders and forcing team members to play before their health had been cleared, making players do weigh-ins every day that they were not comfortable with, coercing a player to get breast reduction surgery, and having the players go through brutal drills where injury occurred.
As a Des Moines personal injury lawyer from our firm at Des Moines Injury Law would agree, misconduct, such as the allegations against Matt Fannon, should not be deemed acceptable. In fact, victims of abuse in situations like these may be owed restitution for their injury and mental anguish caused by what they were put through. Perhaps more victims than ever before are just tired of remaining in the shadows, and yearn to come forward so that offenders of mistreatment can be held accountable publicly. If you or someone you know has been the victim in an accident or unsafe culture which led to physical injury and/or was mentally damaging, we urge you to reach out today for the support you need.