Wake Up, US Soccer!


Over the past few decades, we have been fighting tirelessly for equal treatment for all: The world has slowly realized that women are earning much less than men, for no justifiable reason. So far, the bridge between men and women’s wages has been closing: in the 1970s, women made only 59% of what men made, but recently the number has reached 79%. Though it is still far from equal pay, progress has been  evident, and we are slowly approaching a close of the schism. However, after a close look at the salaries of  members of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, we find ourselves having regressed back to the Dark Ages.

The U.S. National Soccer Federation seems to be stubbornly resistant toward promoting equal pay for both genders, thus maintaining an atrocious wage gap. Such a separation is unwarranted, considering the successes of the women’s team, which has won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 CONCACAF Championship, and the Outstanding Team award in the 2015 ESPYs.

Additionally, the women’s team raised $20 million more than the men’s team last year because of their myriad of wins and enormous popularity and marketability as a team, but their players still earn approximately four times less. Iconic players such as Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd have spoken out about this inequality and signed for a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The team has hired labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who has beaten the NFL in several cases, to now fight against the malice of the Federation. However, it should not be the responsibility of players to gather support for equality and fair pay. In fact, the women should be focusing on training and playing their next match, not dealing with extremely unfair legal matters.

It is true that national team contracts are always collectively bargained, meaning wages are previously negotiated, so the Soccer Federation can say that the female players have already signed the contracts. But times have changed. This women’s team has been consistently triumphing over reputable teams on the international stage. Meanwhile, the men’s team has not been nearly as successful, failing to qualify for the Olympics for the second-straight time.

Specifically, Alex Morgan, an influential signatory of the complaint, is the highest paid American female soccer player, but even she only makes about $445,000 as compared to the best male American players like Landon Donovan, who make nearly $2,000,000. This salient gap is no longer a joke; it is a serious issue that cannot go unresolved. It is time for the US Soccer Federation to wake up, smell the fresh grass, and realize that it is now 2016: men and women deserve to be treated equally.

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