To understand Team USA, you have to appreciate the greatness exemplified on the field, along with the strength and leadership they've shown off of it.
The fourth title denotes dominance, but the equal pay chants after the game marks a movement.
So let me try and outline this battle as best as I possibly can. Before Team USA even flew to France, the U.S. women's national team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in federal court stating institutional gender discrimination.
As a response, The U.S. Soccer federation said the women's and men's National teams "... receive fundamentally different pay structures for performing different work under their separate collective bargaining agreements that require different obligations and responsibilities."
In other words, they say it's not equal pay for equal play because it's apples and oranges. But why would they say that?
The only response I can give you is the men's team gets paid for playing. You don't show up, you get no money. As for the women, the U.S. Soccer Federation works alongside the National Women's Soccer League. If you're on the National team, the federation will take care of your contract, alleviating the burden from the team. This creates a stable payment structure, keeps America's finest in the states and allows those teams to sign other players and spread the wealth.
Now, having said that, there is still a systemic problem. It starts with FIFA, the worldwide governing body and it's exacerbated by the U.S. Federation.
(Also I do want to note the U.S. men's national team has released a statement supporting the women in their efforts.)
According to the New York Times, the prize money for the Women's World Cup is $30 Million. The 2018 Men's World Cup was $400 million. So, each player on this year's women's team will take home roughly $250,000 for winning it all, but if they were men, it would be north of $1 million.
While the prize pool there is a FIFA issue, the allocation of funds is on the U.S. Soccer Federation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, from 2016-2018, the women generated roughly $51 million in revenue, while the men clocked in at $50 million. When you talk about projected profits in 2019, the women will be in the green and the men in the red.
In the aforementioned lawsuit, if the women and men both played 20 non-tournament games with comparable results, the men would make one-and-a-half times more money than the women.
So let me get this straight. The women have been bringing in more money than the men, but the U.S. Soccer Federation is still paying the men significantly more than the women?
That's truly the core of this issue and it needs to be solved.
The WNBA is fighting a similar battle, because, according to Forbes, WNBA players make roughly 23 percent of league revenue while NBA players boast around 50 percent.
I can't outline every single initiative for the women's national team, including how broadcasting rights are just flippantly lumped in with the men, but as we learned throughout the World Cup, the headlines for this group are not just reserved around wins and championships, but a movement.
The tournament is over, but the fight is far from finished.
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