A former women’s Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian national youth team coach is expected back in court Wednesday for sentencing in his sexual assault case.
Bob Birarda pleaded guilty in Feburary to three counts of sexual assault and one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose.
Birarda was initially charged in December 2020 for alleged offences that took place in Metro Vancouver between 1988 and 2008 involving four young female players.
More than a dozen women who played for the Whitecaps and were part of Canada’s under-20 talent pool have since come forward with allegations that he acted inappropriately with members of the teams.
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.
Whitecaps fans staged a walkout after the stories first surfaced in an explosive 2019 blog written by Keera McCormack.
McCormack was coached by Birarda, but was not one of his victims.
Birarda was dismissed by both the Whitecaps and Canada Soccer in 2008.
It’s likely he will face jail time as the charge of touching a young person for a sexual purpose comes with a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum of 14 years behind bars.