Longtime Whitecaps COO Rachel Lewis has quietly left the team

Mar 9 2022, 9:03 pm

After nearly two decades with the Vancouver Whitecaps, including the last 15 years as chief operating officer, Rachel Lewis has left the team.

Lewis announced that she has left the Whitecaps in a LinkedIn post.

“It is with mixed emotions I say farewell as I embark on a new chapter in my career and a new opportunity,” she said. “I leave the ‘Caps with a lifetime of memories all thanks to the incredible team of people — past and present, in the office, on the field, in the stands and across our communities — who have built this club.”

Lewis joined the Whitecaps in 2003, and was promoted to COO in 2007 — two years before the club was awarded an MLS franchise.

“A huge thank you to Whitecaps ownership for giving a young woman in leadership a chance all those years ago. I truly never imagined the journey that would follow and am grateful to have been a part of it. The dedication you show every day is very special — thank you for all that you do for soccer in Canada.”

Lewis, along with other longtime members of the Whitecaps executive team, has been under fire for their handling of multiple scandals that occurred under their watch.

There was no mention of Lewis’ departure on the Whitecaps’ social media accounts or website, but the team did share a statement from CEO Axel Schuster when asked in an email by Daily Hive.

“Whitecaps FC Chief Operating Officer Rachel Lewis has resigned to pursue other opportunities. She was an important member of club’s leadership team since 2003 and we wish her all the best in the future,” Schuster said.

Multiple members of the Whitecaps executive team were placed on administrative leave back in October, in response to sexual misconduct allegations against former Whitecaps women’s team coach Hubert Busby Jr. This followed another scandal involving a coach of the Whitecaps women’s team, as Bob Birarda pleaded guilty to sexual assault and exploitation last month.

Schuster confirmed that Lewis will “continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation led by Janice Rubin and Melody Jahanzadeh of Rubin Thomlinson LLP.”

Birarda remained with the team until 2008, but what he did only came to light publicly in 2019 after former player Ciara McCormack and many of her former teammates spoke up. Last year, Malloree Enoch told The Guardian that Busby solicited sex from her, which was just one of a number of alleged inappropriate advances between 2010 and 2011.

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