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Monday, September 23, 2019

Soccer

More players speak out on ‘punishment’ workout


Three anonymous players have spoken out against head coach Diego Bocanegra, but some have supported the head of Houston soccer. | File photo/The Cougar

Three anonymous players have spoken out against Houston soccer head coach Diego Bocanegra, but some have supported the head of Houston soccer. | File photo/The Cougar

Two more Houston soccer players joined a fellow teammate Wednesday night in speaking out anonymously about a February 2018 “punishment” workout just two weeks after the initial interview with KPRC (Channel 2) aired and launched a University investigation.

The duo, who both side with their unnamed teammate, described several aspects of the alleged incident that left players “crying” and feeling as if they “can’t do this anymore.”

“Everything she said happened,” the first player said to KPRC about the original interview.

The second player to speak Wednesday night maintained her stance, telling KPRC that she believes “it is important that everyone knows the girl who came up here and said the truth was telling the truth.”

The initial player to talk detailed an obscenity-laced workout led by head coach Diego Bocanegra after members of the team were accused of stealing food designated for football players.

“‘Get up, get the f up,’” Bocanegra said, according to the player. “’This is your fault. Get up,’”

Senior midfielder Lauren Flowers, however, disagrees with the claims, telling the Houston Chronicle that the anonymous player’s descriptions were “not reflective of the entire team.”

Junior midfielder Mia Brascia joined Flowers in dissent.

“I have never heard anybody talk to us like that,” Brascia told the Houston Chronicle in regard to the allegations.

Since KPRC’s June 11 report, UH has launched an internal investigation into its processes and policies.

“The University’s knowledge of this information has triggered a joint review by UH System Audit and UH Compliance of our compliance with processes and policies,” the University’s statement regarding the investigation read in part.

“Based on their respective findings,” it continued, “each investigative unit is directed to take swift action and make immediate recommendations to ensure the health and well-being of UH student athletes.”

The interviews come after the program ran into two separate incidents with rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal condition, within the last two years, most recently in January when 12 players were diagnosed with it.

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