Watch Out, the Soccer Feminists are Coming

Maya Long, Staff Writer

The United States Women’s National soccer team (USWNT) won the world cup in 2015 against Japan 5-2. It was the most watched game of soccer in US in history. Women’s soccer has been around since 1913, making it 105 years old. Yet, the USWNT and club players in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) still get paid significantly less than their male counterparts. The women have proven on multiple occasions to be more equipped to win and bring in viewers.

The USWNT has won the World Cup 3 times, Olympic gold medals 4 times and have won the well known CONCACAF championship 7 times. The best result for the Men’s team in the World Cup was 3rd and they came in 11th place the last Summer Olympics. This is not to say that the men’s team isn’t a strong team – they have won the CONCACAF 6 times, and are a team made up of talented athletes. The question is: Why do women get paid significantly less, even when they play significantly better?

The average American women’s soccer player is paid 40% less than the male counterparts. As of 2015, Alex Morgan, the highest paid women soccer player in America, reportedly got paid around $450,000 while playing for the Portland Thorns, a team in the NWSL. She also brings home around 1 million or more in endorsement deals. An average male player makes at a minimum 2 million dollars, and that is not counting international stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Recently, many players from the USWNT have openly advocated against the gender wage gap by filing a complaint with the US Soccer Federation. Players like Alex Morgan and Hope Solo have come forward with the statement, “Equal Play, Equal Pay” and are insisting to be paid the same as the men. Critics of these statements flood the team with comments saying that because the women aren’t as popular and don’t bring in as many ticket sales, that they don’t deserve the same pay. While it is true that women really don’t bring the same coverage worldwide or in the US as the men, the women are arguing that they still deserve the same pay.

Overall, as a female soccer player, I feel discouraged to even dream of playing professionally if I know that I’m not going to be paid the same. The women have garnered the most watched game in US history and still are looked down on. If anything, I think this shows the true power that this team has. They can be as popular as the men. I hope that, as the world starts to view more women’s soccer and change their views on women’s role in sports, the wage gap will close and the women will be paid the same. As a soccer player, I hope that the young girls out there that dream about playing professionally can go into a league and sport that supports their dreams and futures.