Eight Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Gold Cup victories, four Olympic Gold Medals, four World Cup victories overall, three World Cup Finals in a row, two World Cup victories in a row. The U.S. women’s national soccer team are winners full stop. Even their jerseys are the highest selling Nike soccer jerseys of all time. Watching them in this year’s World Cup, I never thought even one time that they were going to lose. Literally there was no doubt in my heart that this team would get the dub, even when they rested Megan Rapinoe and started Christen Press in the semi-finals against England. It’s kind of like the 2018 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid when Real Madrid substituted Isco, a world class player, for Gaerth Bale, another world class player. If you’re the opposing team you’re like “what the heck dude” because a substitute for the other team would start on literally any other squad in the world .
The quality of the team stretches beyond the players, even the coaches are top notch. Head coach Jill Ellis first started coaching the under-21 Women’s team in 2000 since then she’s also coached the under-20 team, was an assistant coach for the national team, United States Soccer Federation development director, was the interim head coach for the national team, and then was hired as the official head coach in 2014. She’s familiar with American players and the system which explains why the players can thrive under her leadership. Ellis has done an incredible job of developing talent and building championship teams. Every time a veteran steps down, another incredible talent comes in to take her place. I know that when Alex Morgan, Christen Press, and Megan Rapinoe hang it up, women like Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle, and Lindsay Horan will come in to take their place. Coach Ellis probably has some ballers on their youth teams that will become icons for the national team in the future.
The lack of success of the men’s team makes it more baffling how underpaid the women are. According to her 2019 Washington Post article, writer Liz Clarke pointed out that U.S. Soccer awarded the men’s team a $5.375 million performance bonus for losing in the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup, while awarding the women $1.725 million for winning the 2015 World Cup. How does that make any sense? You don’t even get a medal for getting into the round of 16, you’re basically just giving them a participation award.
The U.S. men’s soccer team has never even made a World Cup final, has only won six CONCACAF Gold Cups, and has never won an Olympic gold medal. They are on their third head coach in four years and they even failed to qualify for the last World Cup. The most exciting recent memory of the USMNT was when they lost 2-1 to Belgium but Tim Howard made a World Cup record 15 saves. Even when they make history they lose! This is nothing against the players, like Clint Dempsey, Chrstain Pulisic, and Jozy Altidore who are good players and hard workers. It’s the system itself that is at fault. Coaches in the past like Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t develop the young talent like we needed and then Bruce Arena did even worse and didn’t even qualify for the World Cup, we’ll see how Gregg Berhalter does but it just shows the incompetence of the men’s team.
“The differences in pay start when the roster is decided and carry through the end of the season,” Clarke wrote in the Washington Post. “Men earned $55,000 for making the roster of the U.S. World Cup team in 2014. Women, by contrast, earned $15,000 for making the roster of the 2015 U.S. World Cup team.” Why would the men get paid more for making the roster when I would argue the women’s team is harder to make because they have way more talent.
Now the women are fighting for EQUAL pay. EQUAL pay even though they have accomplished way more than the men, sell more jerseys than the men, and according to the BBC “With more than 200 broadcasters in attendance and many giving games prime-time slots on network television, FIFA has estimated that this year’s World Cup will have drawn one billion viewers for the first time.”
This is why all 28 members of the squad had filed a class action, gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. If they deny them at least equal pay then I’m ashamed to be an American citizen, especially with all the hard work it took for me to become a citizen(it took like 14 years by the way which is way too long.) They are out of excuses and I hope this is the first step in ending this kind of gender discrimination in sports and jobs in general. Ending things like discrimination starts at the top, U.S. Soccer needs to set a precedent for others to follow.