Monica Aldama, 51, announced she is retiring from her work as a cheerleading coach, in a new Instagram message on Sunday. The star of Netflix’s Cheer shared happy photos from some of her most memorable moments during her cheerleading career, and added a lengthy, touching message about why she’s decided to step away and start a new path in life.
“I always knew that my time coaching would eventually come to an end, and I would pursue other opportunities,” Monica wrote. “I have prayed a lot about what direction God was leading me in, and it was that prayer that I felt the tug that God was pushing me into a different role and different purpose.”
“I know that I can still help effectuate changes that we need in the world, and certainly in the sport of cheerleading,” she continued. “I felt His calling and I knew the timing was right for this to be my last season coaching. He has big plans for me, and I will faithfully follow where He is leading me.”
Monica’s latest retirement post comes three weeks after she made headlines when a lawsuit that accused her of covering up the alleged sexual assault of one of her cheerleaders, was dismissed. The lawsuit, which was a civil suit filed by the cheerleader in April, accused Monica, as well as former teammates and other school officials, of discouraging them from filing a report about the alleged assault. The cheerleader accused Monica of saying she would help the victim in her career in exchange for not filing a report.
Due to the investigation into the accusations, Monica, who competed on Dancing With the Stars, was suspended for six months by USA Gymnastics. She told PEOPLE that the accusations were “wildly inaccurate,” and in early November, she took to social media to share a statement that revealed she felt “incredible relief” after the allegations were dismissed. She also explained her side of the situation and encouraged others to “do better” with “matters such as these” in the future.
“Moving forward, we must all do better,” she wrote. “We are all acutely aware of concerning issues in cheer. Those issues need to be dealt with. Our athletes deserve to be listened to. They deserve to be believed, However, participants caught up in matters such as these, specifically coaches, need to be treated with respect and fairness as well.”