The U.S. women's team won the World Cup this weekend.
Despite the wave of negativity coming from the homophobic, sexist, and Trump-supporting members of the American public that sought to dampen the flames of the team's unrelenting glory, the ladies did what the men couldn't; they brought home the trophy.
You can say what you like about the USWNT, I mean I'd prefer you didn't, because they don't deserve it, but, y'know, this is still a free country...
What you can't argue with, though, is the facts, and the fact is that the USWNT has proven that they are the best soccer team in the world. Their win wasn't even a close one; they sailed to victory.
But there is one itching fact that ought to be disputed; the fact of the huge pay gap between the U.S. women's team and the (not-world-cup-trophy-holding) men's team.
Here's what you need to know...
There's a reason that European soccer stars go and play in the MLS in their final years before retirement...
via: Getty Images.The reason? The U.S. male soccer players aren't that good. David Beckham in his prime wouldn't have dreamed of signing onto a U.S. league team. Beckham with a bad knee, limping his way into retirement, on the other hand? Sure, sign him up to LA Galaxy!
A semi-retired European soccer player can still run circles around the U.S. men's team.I'm not trying to put down the U.S. men's soccer league, but it's a generally recognized truth that America are not the ones to beat; they're no competition to European teams.
Maybe that's because American men don't have much of an interest in soccer.Americans are more known for basketball, baseball, football, golf, ice-hockey... Soccer just doesn't seem to be our jam; well, that's for then men, of course.
It's a different story when it comes to the U.S. women's soccer team, though.Now, more women in U.S. colleges play soccer than their male classmates. Promising European soccer players will start to move to the U.S. to play the game - and not at the end of their career, at the start. Why? Because when it comes to women's soccer, the U.S. has the best players and the best coaches in the world.
"Leave it to the (wo)men..."
via: Getty Images.The gender pay gap row isn't just happening on the soccer pitch. It's a fight happening all over the world in every imaginable industry. What's interesting, though, is that a common defense against having equal pay between genders in some workplaces is that men are better suited to the job. They argue that men are more skilled and/or more physically able.
If it's a matter of the "better" gender getting the better pay, what on Earth is going on with the pay gap in soccer?
Love this. Love them. PAY THEM! AMEN. #USWNT #WorldCupfinal https://t.co/xNzy8M5cpE— kerry washington (@kerry washington)1562557987.0
To put it simply, the U.S. women's team are winners, the men's team are not.
When you have 4 more World Championships than your country's men's team, but only get paid 1/4th of the money they… https://t.co/1KIE0ACgef— Jake 🐍 (@Jake 🐍)1562521288.0
The U.S. men's team didn't even qualify to play in the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
USA World Cup Finals Appearances Women: 5 Men: 0 USA World Cup Victories Women: 4 Men: 0 Olympic Medals: Women: 4… https://t.co/jlj8VFeVIr— Danny Deraney (@Danny Deraney)1562522978.0
So how much is everyone getting paid?
The US women, should they win today, would make about $250,000 each from the World Cup. If the US men ever won, und… https://t.co/rakux7BxXK— Darren Rovell (@Darren Rovell)1562515792.0
For anyone arguing that the women's World Cup doesn't garner as much interest:
Crowd at the Women's World Cup Final chanting for Equal Pay #USWNT are paid less despite generating more revenue t… https://t.co/HKf4oHG29P— NighSide (@NighSide)1562524999.0
This year's women's World Cup final was scheduled for Sunday, the same day as The Gold Cup and The Copa America Finals.
"That's a terrible idea to put everything on the same day... this is the World Cup final. This is like, 'Cancel Eve… https://t.co/M2YyOynwrH— Annesha Ghosh (@Annesha Ghosh)1562481259.0
Petition for Megan Rapinoe to take over the organizing of FIFA's women's World Cup...
via: Getty ImagesRapinoe commented on the poor scheduling of the final, saying: "If you really care are you letting the gap grow? Are you scheduling three finals on the same day? No, you're not. Are you letting federations have their teams play two games in the four years between each tournament? No, you're not. That's what I mean about the level of care. You need attention and detail and the best minds that we have in the women's game, helping it grow every single day."
The giant gap between the men and women's Fifa World Cup prize fund:
USWNT > USMNT, yet this pay gap. https://t.co/IsPczFqreK— Josh (@Josh)1562558720.0
FIFA have said they intend to increase the prize fund for the women's World Cup.
via: Getty Images.On July 5th, FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, mused that the federation would consider increasing the prize fund for the women's World Cup. Infantino said, "We don't need all this money in the Swiss banks," referencing FIFA's cash reserves. "The Swiss banks have enough money." Now, it can't just be me that found his word choices condescending...
Wouldn't it be nice if the president of FIFA seemed excited about the growing interest in the women's competition?Wouldn't it be nice if he seemed enthusiastic about building a better future for the tournament? "I guess we don't need the money growing dust in a bank vault" isn't exactly what we're looking for... Maybe FIFA will never cease to be a male-centric organization; there needs to be a reshuffling at the top of the table.
Doubling the prize fund isn't going to change much of anything - especially when you increase the men's prize fund, too.
"The men’s World Cup will be the very opposite of the thrilling spectacle just completed," writes @FranklinFoer of… https://t.co/I6InQ0Nt4u— The Atlantic (@The Atlantic)1562556468.0
The USNWT is not sitting around grumbling about the pay gap, they're taking action.This year, the U.S. women's team filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer over the massive pay disparity between the genders, as well as the differences in the working conditions.
Following the victorious defeat of the Netherlands in the World Cup Final, the players had more to say.
via: Getty Images.In a statement released by CBS's Keith Sharman, Molly Levinson, the spokesperson for the USNWT announced: "At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher tv ratings but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all."
And a word to those that call out the USNWT for being arrogant...
Actual photo of Trump watching the second half of the Women's World Cup match. #usa #USAwomenssoccer https://t.co/rkHNKf3KKz— Teddy Meadowlark (@Teddy Meadowlark)1562518577.0
The call for equality could be heard loud and clear at the World Cup Final stadium, in Lyon, France.A chant reportedly broke out at the stadium after the U.S. won, with the American crowd chanting "equal pay" over and over and booing ensued at the sight of Gianni Infantino.
The crowd also chanted: "put them in charge of training the men's team."Jill Ellis, the USWNT coach who, despite being arguably one of the best, if not the best, soccer coach in the world, is paid significantly less than her male coach counterparts. Gregg Berhalter, the head coach of the men’s U.S. soccer team has refused to disclose his salary, but the fact that Ellis makes $34,000 less than Tab Rabos (who manages the men’s U21s) means that we can assume that Ellis makes significantly less than Berhalter.
Anyone who thinks that the U.S. men's team brings in more revenue is mistaken.
Trump On Women’s Soccer Team And Equal Pay: ‘Look At Numbers’ The president said closing the gender pay gap in socc… https://t.co/kmjAo0hIaq— Darlington Micah (@Darlington Micah)1562591260.0
Over the past three years, the women's soccer games have generated more revenue than the men's.CNBC highlighted that, "In 2016, women's games generated $1.9 million more in revenue than men's games. From 2016 to 2018, women's games generated approximately $50.8 million in revenue, compared with $49.9 million for men's games."
So who should get paid more?I'll give you two options... Option 1: The team that generates the most money, wins the most games and tournaments, and is globally considered the best soccer team in the world. or Option 2: The team that didn't even qualify for the World Cup in 2018 and whose players partake in a league which is considered, universally, a league in which European players who are on the brink of retirement can well and truly shine.
I think that we’re done with: Are we worth it? Should we have equal pay? Is the market the same? Yada yada.
via: Getty Images.Speaking to the British newspaper, The Guardian, Rapinoe looked to the future, declaring: "Everyone’s done with that; fans are done with that, players are done with that. In a lot of ways I think sponsors are done with that. Let’s get to the next point. What’s next? How do we support women’s federations and women’s programs around the world? What can Fifa do to do that? What can we do to support the leagues around the world?" And, as for dealing with the haters that can't stand that Rapinoe and the other players are standing up for themselves and the future of women's soccer. Rapinoe says: "A little public shame never hurt anybody, right? I’m down with the boos." Only time will tell whether the pay gap will cease, whether working conditions will improve, and whether scheduling will be taken more seriously in future women's World Cup tournaments. Only time will tell whether the future of women's soccer will be nourished and supported by those that have the power to make the sport as respected and as acknowledged as the male equivalent. There's one thing that we know for sure, though, and that's the USWNT are sure as hell gonna give it a good fight.