Without the existence of the celebrated U.S. women’s soccer team, American pro soccer wouldn’t be a blip on our national sports radar. Though very popular at the youth levels and with many non-English speaking Americans, the U.S. is one of the few countries where soccer doesn’t make the VIP section in terms of popularity.
The women’s team has a rich history of World Cup success, legendary players and international and Olympic acclaim. The men’s team hasn’t come close to matching their accomplishments or social impact.
After qualifying for the 1934 World Cup, the men’s squad didn’t go to another one until 1950. After 1950, the men didn’t sniff another until 1990. The team has qualified for all five World Cups since, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but it's been an unimpressive run for U.S. men’s soccer.
From Brandi Chastain’s sports bra-exposing celebration after scoring the winning shootout goal against Japan in the 1999 World Cup, to the groundbreaking popularity and exploits of Mia Hamm, to the social media fueled popularity of controversial goalie Hope Solo to the ground-breaking lawsuit filed by these current World champs, U.S. women’s soccer IS American soccer.
Without them, I certainly wouldn’t give a hoot about it. Much like Serena and Venus have been the lifeline of U.S. tennis and Connecticut the center of the women’s college basketball world.
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After all of these accomplishments, however, it seems that these women are still falling victim to the same gender discrimination in the workplace that has plagued popular female boxers such as Heather Hardy in the past.
The Daily News reported that the defending World Cup champions are striking back at the pay disparity with their lesser-decorated men’s team counterparts.
“Five members of the title-winning squad, in a federal discrimination complaint, charged they were paid millions of dollars less than their mediocre male compatriots despite vastly superior play.
‘The numbers speak for themselves,’ said Solo. ‘We are the best in the world, have three world Cups, four Olympic championships, and the men get paid to show up.’
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The women, for example, earn $30,000 each for making the World Cup team -- compared with $68,750 for the men, according to the Equal Opportunity Commission complaint.
Women team members who play 20 matches a year, can make slightly less than $100,000 -- while the men can earn more than twice that amount ($263,320) for the same work.
The most glaring difference came in World Cup compensation. The women received $2 million in compensation winning the entire prestigious tourney. The men earned $9 million for barely making it out of the group stage a year earlier in the World Cup.“
The federal civil rights complaint was signed by Solo, all-time women’s team leading goal scorer Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe.
Making matters worse and painting this situation in an even more negative light is the fact that court documents project that for the fiscal year running from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, the women will turn a net profit of $5 million while the men will lose about $1 million.
Looks like we need to be reducing men’s salaries and raising the women’s salaries. They are not only the better players, but the breadwinners for U.S. Soccer.
The fact that its governing body isn’t disputing the women’s claims is more evidence that US women soccer players have been underpaid for some time now. The organization released a statement that says it’s committed to and currently engaged in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement “that addresses compensation with the Women’s National Soccer Team Player Association."
The men's team is stealing money if these figures are accurate. They must be getting paid by loss and amount of heartache inflicted on fans.
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With the U.S. women’s team being the only true shining star or team with any real juice in American soccer, it’s pretty much a done deal that the women will be getting their financial due when the current contract expires at the end of the season.
If the men’s team had celebrity personalities and marketable players and a win total deserving of a highly-paid international team, then maybe you could understand the pay disparity.
Some men’s sports are more popular than women's sports and tend to generate more money, but not U.S. soccer. It’s a sport in the U.S where the women's team reigns supreme and they should certainly get paid like it.