USA Soccer – the men don’t get it?!

 In Coaches, Professional & Olympic Athletes, Women & Girls

USWNT_CelebratesShocking! I am referring to an article in the NY Times: Men of Soccer Don’t Get It, as Usual Because I’ve been writing a lot on issues around gender inequality, I want to start this blog by stating for the record: I am not a man hater (at all) but honestly there’s been a lot of this s*%$ in the news about unequal rights for women. It needs to be talked about and it needs to be talked about by other influential women.

If you haven’t heard, members of the US Women’s National Soccer Team “filed a federal complaint, charging U.S. Soccer, the sport’s governing body here, with wage discrimination.” The line that follows this says: “And when they did that, the men got sad (the article was written by a man so that’s an interesting sentence: the men got sad?! I am leaving that one alone).” The next paragraph quote from the governing body said: “We are disappointed,” the men who run U.S. Soccer responded in a news release. “We are the world leader in women’s soccer (which sounds like a more accurate statement).” If we are the world leader in women’s soccer, shouldn’t they be getting equal pay?

USA Women’s Soccer has come a long way but not because of the men involved or FIFA. They’ve come a long way because of their talent. Because of that talent – ‘in World Cup and Olympic years the women’s team, which is far more successful than the men’s team, pull in comparable revenue.’ I have seen and heard from many girls who started playing soccer because of the greatness we’ve had coming out of US Women’s soccer. Because of how well women have succeeded in the sport, more girls are playing, there’s more sponsorship money and more people are watching.

In a Forbes interview FIFA Women’s World Cup: The Growth Of U.S. Soccer And Sponsorship Julie Foudy was asked: “How and why has its popularity grown, and what has been the result (for the sport as a whole, for the teams/athletes, for the landscape of the World Cup)?”

Foudy: “I think Title IX is a large reason for that, in terms of numbers of kids playing. There are more girls playing in this country – 2 million – than, I would guess (it would be interesting to do this math), than all other countries combined in this World Cup. So you just have opportunities like no other country has. Most girls, in a lot of the countries, don’t have the chance to play or the right to play, because their culture doesn’t encourage it. In this country, you can see the infrastructures in place, the grassroots programs, the support from our Federation – it’s tremendous. So that’s why we’ve been so successful. And you have these awesome role models that resonate with kids – Abby Wambach and then you go down the list of US players who are fun to watch – I even see my kids wearing their jerseys.”

The NY Times article: Men of Soccer Don’t Get It, as Usual goes on to say that “today women get $50 per diem. Men get $62.50. Women get $30,000 for making a World Cup team; men get $68,750. A top female player might make $100,000, according to the women’s complaint. A comparable male player, they say, gets about $260,000.”  Now, why shouldn’t members of the USA Women’s National Soccer Team file a suit for pay equity? Does that seem fair? 

Here are some other important stats from the article:

  • “FIFA, the sometimes crime family that runs global soccer, is a vastly male endeavor. Just this once, women might celebrate their exclusion: Of the 42 defendants in the ever-expanding FIFA corruption scandal, only one is female. 
  • The board of U.S. Soccer remains a male preserve, with 14 men and two women, a disparity found on its other committees.”

Sorry guys of USA Soccer. No matter how you spin it, there are so many inequities in USA Women’s Soccer: pay, support, female involvement, etc. What other way is there to look at this? I applaud the members of the USA Women’s National Soccer Team who are taking a stand. Being in a position of inequity, taking a stand and being a kick ass soccer player all take a lot of time and emotional energy.  It’s sad that you can’t just focus on being kick ass soccer players. One would think that’d be enough!

Good luck! I hope this helps spreads some knowledge!

Dr. Michelle

Blog citations from the following articles:

FIFA Women’s World Cup: The Growth Of U.S. Soccer And Sponsorship

Men of Soccer Don’t Get It, as Usual

Photo courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org

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