A fan holds a Canadian flag in the stands as players are introduced at the start of a match against New Zealand, in Ottawa, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Canada Soccer said it has agreed to a “transparent, independent review of the investigation of allegations” against former women’s coach Bob Birarda during the time when he was employed by the association. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A fan holds a Canadian flag in the stands as players are introduced at the start of a match against New Zealand, in Ottawa, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Canada Soccer said it has agreed to a “transparent, independent review of the investigation of allegations” against former women’s coach Bob Birarda during the time when he was employed by the association. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ex-Vancouver Whitecaps women’s coach Birarda pleads guilty to 4 sex charges

Birarda was dismissed by both the Whitecaps and Canada Soccer in October 2008

A former coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Canada Soccer’s women’s teams has pleaded guilty to four sexual offences.

Bob Birarda entered guilty pleas to three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual touching during a video appearance at B.C. Provincial Court in North Vancouver on Tuesday morning.

He was charged in December 2020 of six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child luring for alleged offences that took place in North Vancouver, Burnaby and West Vancouver between January 1988 and March 25, 2008.

More than a dozen women who played for the Whitecaps and were part of Canada’s under-20 talent pool around 2008 have come forward to allege Birarda, a former coach for both squads, acted inappropriately with members of the team.

The allegations include rubbing a player’s thigh, sending players sexual text messages, making lewd comments and bullying young women who ignored or spoke out against his behaviour.

Birarda was dismissed by both the Whitecaps and Canada Soccer in October 2008.

READ MORE: Former Whitecaps coach faces allegations of sexual misconduct

– The Canadian Press

Vancouver Whitecaps

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