Growing up dreaming of becoming a professional soccer athlete is something that many teens, like myself, experienced. Up until now, I have spent a lot of effort playing as a midfielder on a good team.
If I become a professional soccer player I would make more money than girls who also dream of becoming professional soccer players. These are girls, who just like me, put effort into running, learning and spending money to train and be on a good team. Why do male and female soccer players who put the same effort into their careers get different salaries?
“The salaries for the 2018 NWSL [National Women’s Soccer League] season are a $350,000-team cap, with the minimum salary of $15,750 USD and a maximum of $44,000,” according to the NWSL website. An article titled Wage Equality in Football, by John J. Merdham from Duke University writes, “MLS [Major League Soccer] league rookies makes over $20,000 USD a year more than the highest paid non-allocated player in the NWSL.” According to the same article the U.S. men’s soccer team received $9 million after they lost on the 13th round in the 2014 World Cup, while the women’s soccer team won the Women’s World Cup in 2015, and received about $2 million for the tournament.
The next FIFA Women's World Cup is starting on June 7th of this year. “I think it’s absolutely wild that FIFA has allowed the 2019 Gold Cup and Copa América to coincide directly with the World Cup, but that’s to be expected and doesn’t make me any less thrilled or eager to support this summer’s main event,” states Jessica Lopez, a Public Relations Manager at the Minnesota United FC. She continues, “the NWSL bumped its salary cap up to $350,000, with a minimum salary of $15,750 and a maximum salary of $444,000. In MLS, by contrast, the average salary in 2017 was somewhere around $326,000. The gap remains stark.”
The salary and pay is a really important in a soccer career, so female athletes should be aware of the gender discrimination. In athletic careers there is extreme sexism, which could tie back to the salary gap, caused by the lack of support from associations like FIFA. This is why, “they might feel like they are not getting appreciated for what they are doing, especially if they are a girl,” claims Lismeidy Valenzuela, a student of a Boston Public School.
There are many ways to contribute to the solution of this problem. “In addition to better funding, better media coverage and access would go a long way to benefit women’s soccer and the young girls who aspire to one day go pro—or simply to see themselves in professional athletes on TV, in the news, etc. Hearing more women in soccer commentary, seeing more women quoted in the news, interviewed on TV,” explained Lopez.
Gender discrimination has always been a problem here in the United States. A new era is just starting, and there must be equality for both men and women in sports.