Why The Women’s National Soccer Team Deserves More Than The Men

News broke on March 31, 2016 that members of the United States Women’s National Soccer team filed suit against the US Soccer Federation on the basis of wage discrimination.  Their attorneys, the law firm of Winston & Strawn, filed the suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the women, seeking fair compensation in-line with what the male national soccer athletes make.

The filing, points out that the women brought in $20 million more than the men in 2015 and the women were paid considerably less – almost four times as less.

Think about that for a minute.  Your daughter, your wife or someone you know goes out and busts her butt in training all year and wins the World Cup – yes the women won the World Cup in 2015 (while the men finished 1-2-1 in the 2014 World Cup) but yet the ladies got paid four times less.

To put that into numbers here’s an ESPNW.com breakdown:

“Among the numbers cited in the EEOC filing are that the women would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, the minimum number they are required to play in a year. But the men would likely earn $263,320 each for the same feat, and would get $100,000 even if they lost all 20 games. Additionally, the women get paid nothing for playing more than 20 games, while the men get between $5,000 and $17,625 for each game played beyond 20.
Also greatly disparate, according to the figures, is the pay for playing in the World Cup. The U.S. women received a team total of $2 million when it won the World Cup last year in Canada. Yet when the U.S. men played in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the team earned a total of $9 million despite going just 1-2-1 and being knocked out in the round of 16.”

Winston & Strawn’s co-chairman Jeffrey Kessler came out with guns blazing in support of the players, “The reality is that this team is more valuable to the USSF than the men’s team has been. That’s what the facts show. And they would be justified in asking for more than the men are receiving. But the first step that they are seeking is equal treatment. That should be an easy step for the USSF to take.”

USWNT goalie, Hope Solo appeared on the “Today” show to defend the USWNT’s suit and said, “we are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the [men] get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”

The women aren’t alone.  Tim Howard, the US Men’s National Team goalie is in support and former USMNT captain Landon Donovan rang his support because he knew what it is like to feel underappreciated and undervalued.

Solo also told “Today” “I’ve been on this team for a decade and a half, and I’ve been through numerous CBA negotiations, and honestly, not much has changed,” Solo said. “We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it.

“In this day and age, it’s about equality. It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay. We’re pushing for that. We believe now the time is right because we believe it’s our responsibility for women’s sports and specifically for women’s soccer to do whatever it takes to push for equal pay and equal rights. And to be treated with respect.”

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann earned a salary of $2.5 million in 2014 that escalated to $3.2 million according to the Washington Post.  This is the same coach that finished 1-2-1 in the 2014 World Cup.  Also during that time the US finished fourth in the Gold Cup, a result that was embarrassing and the worst finish in 15 years.  For all the hype surrounding the announcement of Klinsmann and subsequent firing of Bob Bradley, who to this day I still think got a raw deal, he has managed to earn lots of money, take the team nowhere and be unable to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup as well.

On the flip side of that, USWNT coach Jill Ellis earned a base salary of $215,000 heading into the 2015 World Cup.  After winning the Cup, she earned bonuses but I can’t imagine her salary came anywhere close to Klinsmann’s even after the bonuses.  However the USF re-signed Ellis to a new contract extension in August 2015 with the terms not being released. I can only imagine this stands to reason that those terms were kept in house so the salary differentials could not be put on public display.  Prior to the World Cup win Ellis earned 10 times less than Klinsmann but was able to win a World Cup.  Klinsmann still has yet to win anything on the world stage other than the Gold Cup, which former coach Bob Bradley won once and finished runners-up twice.

I’ve thought about this topic for a long time.  I’ve felt the women’s team, and other women’s teams, have gotten disrespected for years.  The men’s team gets the credit, the cameras and the magazines – not to mention the money.

It’s much like the National Women’s Hockey League which is a whole blog on its own. Recently I tried to find the NWHL’s end of season championship game on TV.  The four teams, Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and New York play for the Isobel Cup.  But good luck finding any sort of coverage of any of the league other than on the website, which is a sad commentary on women’s sports.  How can it be that women’s sports can be put on the back burner?

Look at the $20 million dollars and the World Cup that the USWNT brought in.  How can you argue with that?  Jill Ellis brought that in, not Jurgen Klinsmann.  Hope Solo did that not Tim Howard.  We need to take a step back and be better not only for the women who play these sports and for ourselves, but for the young girls who look up to these women. Ultimately they are the ones that are the dreamers and they are the ones that are going to be there one day living their dream.  We tell children they can do anything they want they just have to follow their dream.  Sure little boys can play sports when they get older, but not every little girl can.  It’s time to change that and it’s time to make sure that just like men, women can make a living doing it too!

Jozy 2.0?

I hesitate to write this, for a multitude of reasons, and I’m certain by the time you’re done reading you’ll understand why. I’m on the fence when it comes to 22 year old DeAndre Yedlin, not that I don’t think that he’s talented, but because I believe Jurgen Klinsmann’s hands on him will no doubt cause trouble.
Yedlin came to my attention during “our Jozy World Cup,” when all my Sunderland mates made Jozy trend on Twitter during the United States run in the World Cup. While multitudes of Americans jammed open air parks and stadiums to watch the games on jumbo screens I sat in my chair and hoped to see Klinsmann fall on his face while Tweeting about Jozy. Bad me I know.
My history with Klinsmann’s running of the American National Team is long and jaded. I’ve long believed that the two men before him put into place something that he has taken credit for. Now he’s just running blind.
Without Tim Howard, the last World Cup would have been a complete disaster. His record number of saves in a World Cup game, just proved to me that Klinsmann had no idea of what he was doing. Leaving Landon Donovan at home also further proved that point. But hey, I’m just a writer, he’s the guy that gets paid millions to put together a team to go out there and play. I guess someone believes more in him than me.
As for that World Cup, he put DeAndre into the Portugal game in the 72nd minute and Yedlin’s pace was on display. In fact nine minutes in he set up what looked like former Tottenham and Fulham man Clint Dempsey’s winner in the 81st minute. But Varela would find an equalizer in the waning minutes of extra time ending the denying the United States’ hope of qualifying for the next round at that time.
Yedlin would come on again against Germany and play with athleticism and quickness from his fullback spot. He would also come in against Belguim in the round of 16. All of these appearances attracted the eyes of scouts who had not seen him playing in the MLS. Suddenly Premier League teams were jumping to sign him to a contract.
He made a debut for Tottenham on April 11, 2015 against Villa but it really remains to be seen what will happen in the first team for DeAndre. He’s far from polished and it’s certain that he will need time to settle in. What I can imagine is that Advocaat will put him on one wing and van Aanholt on the other wing and push the ball down the sides. Since both are pretty good on moving it forward not as good on the defensive side, he will rely on the central defenders and players like Toivonen, Catts, Rodwell and M’Vila to pressure the opposition and win the ball back so it can be pushed down the wide areas. Maybe he links up with Fab on the right side and they go down that wing, it could be a deadly partnership, flipping in crosses to Fletch.
It’s interesting because I hadn’t heard DeAndre’s name for a while, since his transfer to Tottenham and he seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. He was big on the scene after the World Cup but it seems that Advocaat’s scouts dug deep on this one if he truly is looking for someone to play wide and play quick and force the action on the wings.
He’s still an enigma as far as the Prem and could be a Jozy 2.0 as for what Sunderland is getting. Although Jozy had already had one stint in the Prem where he didn’t prove it, I thought he would make it better. I guess his game has been suited better for the MLS where he’s scored 10 goals in 19 games played.
Prepare yourselves Mackems…the American invasion 2.0 is beginning again, “forcing themselves to be Sunderland” fans again. Don’t get me started. I’ll never make fans this way but I don’t much care. They’re still pissed over the Jozy experiment. If you can’t make it you can’t make it. It happens. I suppose we’re all supposed to agree it was because he was left all alone on his own and never got service but now in the MLS he gets all the service he needs and it’s not because he was out of his depth? Huh. I suppose I’ll grab my kicks and go line up for the Cats then I can say that I never got service when I fail to even get the ball because I’m completely out of my depth and when my shot doesn’t even get the keeper to move it will be because I never got service. Funny.
You can’t make people happy. You never will. All I know is I love this team. I’m going to support this team. I am going into the DeAndre deal with an open mind like I did the Jozy deal. But don’t ask me to always play nice, you can’t just jump on the bandwagon and then jump off when someone “doesn’t get service.”

Taking Off The Mask

So I’ve been debating how long I’d let this go before I’d tell you who I am.  Some of you may know already who I am because you’ve seen my Twitter account before and you’ve put two and two together.  Some of you may know because of the way I write. Either way I suppose it’s time for you Black Cats to know who is writing this.

Not too long ago I was an “official” fan blogger for Sunderland.  You could go to the site every couple of weeks or every month and find something new by me.  I tried to do my best to give my opinion and at the same time not to be too harsh in order to be published.  I went through patches were things I submitted would be denied because they were a bit too sensitive or in the case of one post I did slamming Jurgen Klinsmann in particular, I was told it may not be too good for the American fans.  Now that Altidore is gone I’m certain that most American fans have left in flocks.  They probably are convinced, as I’ve seen on Twitter (lol 🙂 ) that Altidore “never got a chance, had poor service and was on a poor team so he was destined for failure.”  It’s always amusing to argue with people who don’t watch Sunderland.  When I do point out the times he did play and the complete embarrassment he was on the pitch they ask if I even watched Sunderland play…seriously?  Nope.  I’m just a former “official” fan blogger who has his own kit and watches and listens on SAFSEE but we are good. I don’t watch them.  You go back to the MLS buddy.

Then there’s that subject.  One of my favorite leagues to beat up on because it’s so easy to find faults in.  USA soccer is trying to turn it into the training ground for the national team with Klinsmann’s blessing while importing international players and paying them ridiculous wages.  Some of these players don’t deserve to be there.  Or any other league, but hey, Americans want it!

So one day last fall I submitted a blog and I didn’t get a response.  A week goes by and I was told there was someone new doing it.  So I was told he would get in touch.  It’s not happened.  So here I am after months of waiting.  I guess I could see the writing on the wall.  Plus maybe it’s better for me.  Maybe I can be a little more expressive on my own site.  I mean now I don’t have to be nice about Klinsmann which kills me to do.  The best thing we ever did for American soccer was that night in World Cup where we made Altidore trend on Twitter.  Thanks for the memories…I’m happy I could be a part of a UK trend.

So yes the mask has come off, I’m no longer official but I’m still writing…the mask is off and now so too are the gloves