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Archive for September 6, 2022

Sept. 6, 2022 — A world-leading statement

This evening, in the nation’s capital, a group of soccer players and executives will hold a ceremony after the U.S. women’s soccer team plays Nigeria in a friendly.

Now, soccer has not often altered its usual ritual — pre-game walk-out, national anthem(s), pre-game photo, a first half, halftime, second half, post-game mixed zone. Sure, there have been some times when players may get a recognition for a milestone for the number of appearances. Once, a World Cup draw ceremony occurred during halftime of a U.S. women’s game in 1999.

But I don’t think there’s ever been the kind of ritual planned during the postgame this evening. This evening, the collective bargaining agreement which guarantees equal pay for the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams will be signed. A number of dignitaries and politicians will be on-site, as well as members of the men’s and women’s player unions and U.S. soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone.

It’s a landmark agreement which guarantees identical compensation for all competitions and the introduction of the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism for both the men’s and women’s senior national sides.

It’s been a long time coming; the U.S. women, back in 1985, had a part-time coach, changed in hotel rooms, and even had to sew the letters onto their own uniforms. And even until the last World Cup cycle, the women’s national side got paid less money for winning France 2019 than the men would have received for finishing last in the 2018 Russia tournament.

Much of the credit for this evening has to go to Cone, who was a starting forward for the United States in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final and knows, as much as anyone in her station, what kinds of obstacles have been in the way of equality for the men’s and women’s national teams over the years.