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UNC Players Stand By Their Soccer Coach

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CHAPEL HILL — This past week has not been a good one of Anson Dorrance, the highly successful UNC women's soccer coach.

As Dorrance prepares his team for the 1998 season, two former players have charged him and the University with sexual harassment. Dorrance vehemently denies the allegations.

More than ever Carolina players have adopted a defensive mindset. Dorrance, the most decorated coach in women's soccer, has been accused of sexual harassment by former players Debbie Keller and Melissa Jennings. The current players have rallied to his defense.

"Anything that involves Anson is an action against every player on this team and this program," UNC senior Cindy Parlow said. "We believe in him and everything he does for us."

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Dorrance openly talked about players' personal lives at practice. While this kind of conduct is common on men's athletic teams, the plaintifs say they found it offensive.

"There might be a line that should be drawn, but nothing here has ever approached that limit," UNC senior Tiffany Roberts said. "I don't think there has ever been any inappropriate comments or anything like that."

Dorrance has also received support from former players. Mia Hamm attended Tuesday's practice. While unable to comment on the allegations against him, Dorrance says he has received encouragement not to change.

"As far as practices, nothing's changed," Dorrance said. "We go at it with just as much intensity. One thing about a crisis, it lets you know who your leaders are."

In the meantime, players say team togetherness has never been better.


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