The not-so-level playing field

The U.S. women’s soccer team fight for equality

Story by Cate Rounds, staff writer

The U.S. Women’s soccer team is one of the most rivaled soccer teams in the world. They have won three World Cups, four Olympic gold medals and have broken numerous records. So why are these women paid significantly less than the men’s soccer team?

The U.S. Women’s soccer team felt discriminated against because despite all of their successes, the men’s team was still paid significantly more than them. The women’s team gets paid $1,300 per winning game. The men’s team gets $17,000 per winning game. If they lose, the men’s team still gets $5,000. Women get nothing.

Some may say that men get paid more because more people like to watch men’s sports. With soccer, this is not the case. The women’s team actually broke the record for the most watched soccer game in America between men and women. The women also brought in around $17 million in profits from the games in the previous season while the men lost $2 million.

The U.S. Women’s soccer team is thought to be the most successful in international women’s soccer. Out of the tournament, they have won three World Cups, eight CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Gold Cups, and 10 Algarve Cups. The women’s team has won medals in every World Cup since they started competing in it while the men’s team only made it to the round of 16 in this past World Cup. The women’s team has also won four gold medals and one silver at the Olympics, and they are number one in the world. The men’s team is only number 30 in the world, and they haven’t won any medals at the Olympics.

Along with the unequal terms of payment, the women are also given unequal playing opportunities in terms of the field. The men play on grass every single game. The women are forced to play on Astroturf. According the the Hospital for Special Surgery, athletes who played on Astroturf were at greater risk for ACL tears, concussions, ankle sprains and knee injuries. 

Many came and supported the women’s team, including Billie Jean King. She paved the way for women in tennis when she defeated Bobby Riggs in their battle-of-the-sexes match and has been a huge advocate for women’s rights throughout the years. In an article with the New York Times, she states that she believes women are the future of soccer, and this is an opportunity for FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) to make a change that will go down in history. Players from the U.S. men’s team have also come out in support of the women’s team’s requests along with international soccer teams, such as Australia, Nigeria and Ireland.

The U.S. Women’s Soccer team deserves to have equal rights as the men, especially when they have been such a success to the federation. Most people in soccer and other international sports believe these women deserve justice. FIFA needs to recognize all that these women have done for the organization and should comply to the requests.