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.
– The Canadian Press