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Former ISU soccer players allege psychological abuse from coach

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WISH) — “Take a deep breath,” said I-Team 8’s Jasmine Minor.

Nervous, yet determined. For four former female Division I soccer players, this was the first time they’ve shared their stories publicly — and it’s five years in the making. 

“My doctor (and I), we discussed me going on antidepressants for any type of postpartum care in the future … when I become a mom,” said Katie Webb, formerly Katie Wells, who played soccer on the Indiana State University Soccer team from 2015 to 2018. “When you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, when you’ve gone through an emotional experience, it all just seems amplified and to amplify that more with hormones that I can’t necessarily control.” 

That trauma began in college, she says, stemming directly from the psychological, verbal and emotional abuse she and her 27 teammates say they suffered from their former head coach, Julie Hanley. 

After the school announced the head coach was stepping down from her position in December, these former players felt empowered to tell their stories. 

“(I was made to) weekly give every intake of food that I had. Like I would write down every single calorie, carb,” said Pamela Silies, a former Indiana State University Soccer player from 2016 to 2019. 

She was binging, she says, due to the pressure handed down by Hanley.

Their experience became one of many bullet points within 17 typed-up pages. It’s now known as the “Binder” of 2017.

It read: 

“We are here, 27 strong, to discuss an important issue with you. We have been told over and over that the soccer team is “our program”, and we are here to voice concerns with “our program”, specifically in regard to the coaching staff. Even after Julie reminded us this morning that we have our scholarships at stake, we still have this number wanting to come forward. There are additional supporters not present due to the finance threat. We come in a great number not to ambush you but to impress upon you the magnitude of the issue that is felt across our team. Like I said, the supporters for this action include even more girls that were unable to make it today. We know it is your job, not ours, to evaluate coaches, but we believe that there are things you are unaware of that you need to know…We don’t want 27 people to leave, we want one person.” 

Then detailed the following reasons. 

The 17 pages of the “Binder,” that 27 female ISU soccer players presented to the administration in 2017. (Provided Photo/Pamela Silies)


“We would receive a message, it was like at nighttime, the day before. And it would be the list of the girls who had to go in and run the next morning,” said Carli Chiatto, another former ISU soccer player, 2016 to 2018.

The problem wasn’t the workout. Chiatto says the issue was the workout was mandatory on their off day. 

“We would basically just sprint on the treadmill until you would pass out.”

NCAA Division I rules mandate at least one day off a week during the season. It was something the girls say was adding physical stress to their bodies on top of the heavy emotional stress they were facing. 


“We would read. Like certain passages that we were sent,” Webb said. 

The passages were from a book describing what the women say were “difficult personalities,” such as “The Lovable Slacker,  The Accidental Mess-Maker, The Bulldozer.” 

“I think once that email came out with preconceived names and notions of what your personality was on this team, I think it broke some people,” Webb said. 

The Binder shows an email sent from Hanley to the team with those passages and players’ names written down next to them. 


Webb, Chiatto and Silies tell I-Team 8, the Breakfast Club and Book Club were only the beginning. They say life as an injured player was far more difficult. 

“Some girls who are recovering from ACLs, the injured players were maybe not able to recover as much as they should be or were treated more like field managers in the moment, you know, fetching balls, grabbing cones,” Webb said. “We’re on a football field, you know, and it’s turf, one ball gets hit too far. That’s 100 yards of walking right there.”

Webb says there was a level of guilt that came with being one of the healthy ones. 

“I’d say overall, I was a pretty healthy player and to know that maybe I kicked that ball down there on accident,” Webb told I-Team. “It’s kind of gut-wrenching because you feel guilty of being a perfectly capable individual going to get that (ball). And you’re either not allowed to, not encourage, and still participating in another drill.”


The “Binder” included allegations of Hanley’s “lack of presence at team events,” “manipulative and destructive” behavior, “lying” to players and coaches,” and “unprofessional behavior” such as asking to go to dinner with a player and her boyfriend. 

They tell I-Team 8 they presented the “Binder” to the administration, including current ISU Athletic Director Sherard Clinkscales in the spring 2017. 

A university spokesperson provided a statement to I-Team 8: 

Indiana State University is committed to protecting the health and welfare of student-athletes and takes any allegation of emotional or NCAA violations seriously. The university thoroughly and promptly investigated concerns raised in 2017 by student-athletes about the head women’s soccer coach.

A 27-page report found no violations whatsoever of any NCAA rules, university policies, or state or federal laws or regulations. In particular, the investigation found no violations of governing rules on student-athlete physical and mental welfare, and it found no violations of NCAA time limits on team activities.

Nonetheless, ISU took significant measures to ensure the welfare of the women as students and athletes in the women’s soccer program. A specific action plan was implemented for the head coach. An ISU board-certified psychologist ensured the student-athletes’ well-being.

This fall, ISU and its women’s soccer coach made the decision to part ways. The university will not comment on any personnel actions regarding current or former employees.

ISU encourages all students to come forward with any concerns that they may have.”

The former players tell I-Team 8 they felt nothing had changed after their teammates presented the “Binder” — except for who was on the team. 

“We’re not 27, strong anymore,” said Jazlyn Rowan, a former ISU player from 2016 to 2018. “A lot of the players who had something to do with that binder were released from the team.”

According to roster records from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, I-Team 8 found at least 16 players who did not play through their senior years under Hanley. 

Rowan was one of those players. 


Nearly eight months after 27 of her teammates presented the “Binder,” Rowan filed a racial discrimination complaint against Hanley. 

“One day we were walking in the mall as a team and some of my teammates came and brought me a clip-on blonde ponytail suggesting like if you wear this I guarantee you’ll play,” Rowan said, describing the moment her feelings were solidified in her mind. “Being able to just be like, ‘Okay, like, this is real. This is happening. What can I do different? I can’t change the color of my skin, but maybe I can be a better player.’”

Rowan was one of two Black players on the 2018-2019 roster. 

Her complaint alleged a lack of playing time, direct comments on her hairstyles, and a “fear to touch the ball” and face consequences for making a mistake. 

“I witnessed (her experience), too. But to hear it back and to kind of sit here and say like that was her experience. And that’s what happened. It’s wrong,” said Silies, who is white. 

“Do you two feel like Jazlyn deserved more playing time?” Minor asked Silies and Chiatto. 

“Absolutely,” Chiatto said. 

“Of course. I think everyone deserves a chance,” Silies said. “And she never got that.”

An investigation by the university was completed in December 2018. In its conclusion, it found while there was “evidence that supports a general belief among the soccer team of favorable or differential treatment, such evidence does not support a finding that the differential treatment was based on (an) individual’s characteristics.”

“They asked me what I wanted from all of this, (like is this) about looking for more playing time. … I said, ‘no.’ I’m not looking for more playing time. I’m just looking for you all to get cultural competency training.” 

Rowan says they never got that training. Instead, she says, she was told she no longer “fit the culture” of the team. 

One month after the final investigative report came out, she was cut from the team. 

“It was a clear slap in the face,” Rowan said through tears. “I don’t remember the last time I touched a soccer ball. It was really hard. Sorry.”

I-Team 8 followed up with the school to offer the opportunity for a formal interview, but the school declined and referred to their statement. 


An October investigative report written by Sally Q. Yates, the former acting U.S. attorney general, which focused on the conduct of three former National Women’s Soccer League coaches, found there were issues of systemic emotional and verbal abuse beyond the professional leagues. 

“Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players,” the report says.

Yates was quoted in a call with reporters, “from youth soccer on up, sexist or demeaning statements have been written off as ‘tough coaching,’” according to NPR

The report also found players’ complaints were not always acted upon. 

Silies, Chiatto and Rowan say after their own experience growing up in the soccer world they agree with the report’s findings. 

“Do you believe the university was trying to cover its tracks?” I-Team 8 asked. 

“Absolutely,” they said in agreement.

“The administration failed this team. And I believe that you know, they’re still failing this team,” Webb said. 


I-Team 8 reached out to Hanley several times to address the racial discrimination and psychological, verbal and emotional abuse allegations by her former players. 

She sent a text to Minor with a statement: “I’m grateful for my time at Indiana State and for those coaches and players I shared my time with as part of the program.” 

I-Team 8 also reached out to the NCAA to ask if the organization had ever separately investigated the allegations or was made aware of them. 

A spokesperson for the NCAA said that “the NCAA has no comment.” 

For Chiatto, Webb, Rowan, and Silies, they say while there is lingering trauma years later, they’ve worked hard to build themselves and their life back up again. They say sharing their stories is about taking their power back. 

“I can’t give (Hanely) the power over my success,” Rowan said. “Like I came through that. Like I really did that.” 

“We’re going to tell you what we’re going through. So listen to us,” Chiatto said. 

“Hear us.”