TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Apr. 6, 2017 — (Some) labor peace

I didn’t want to go too long without acknowledging what it took for the U.S. women’s national soccer and women’s ice hockey teams to get collective bargaining agreements with the national governing bodies of their sports.

For both teams, the labor situations they were in previously were products of decisions made years before. But what has happened in the last 10 years is a movement towards professionalism in their respective sports for elite women.

Yes, women’s soccer is now in its third iteration of a USSF-sanctioned Division I women’s professional league. But it’s only now, during the National Women’s Soccer League era, that the rest of the world — and FIFA — have begun to catch up. These days, you can’t go through a conversation about women’s soccer without discussing a FIFA transfer window or one of the many fine American players who are now plying their trade in Europe.

What that has done for the women’s elite player pool is give them leverage not only over U.S. Soccer, but over individual NWSL team owners. I think, in the published reports which have been written the last few days, that this is reflected in the promised “improved NWSL standards.” I believe it’s more than just a pledge to not move a game at the last minute to play on a baseball diamond (which happened in Rochester last year). But I think it’s a pledge to get NWSL teams out of public parks and high-school football grounds.

The long-term aim of the U.S. women’s ice hockey team is, at first blush, a lot different. Instead of seeking a partnership and backing for the flagging National Women’s Hockey League, the women sought a committee and representation within USA Hockey specifically geared towards women.

It’s going to be, I believe, up to that committee to help save the NWHL, which had a foreboding salary cut in mid-season.

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