US Women's Soccer Team; Fighting For Equality

April 12th is Equal Pay Day, which signifies the exact day of the year that US women (on average) have to work into 2016 to make what their male counterpart earned in 2015. Currently, women earn 78 cents to men’s dollar for the same job position. The gender gap permeates all occupations, even professional sports.

The trend of inequality of compensation continues with the U.S. women’s national team. The FIFA Women’s World Rankings ranked the U.S. team as No. 1 from 2008-2014 and regained the number one spot on July 10, 2015 because of their 2015 World Cup victory. 20.3 million people tuned in to watch the U.S. women’s team battle out for the World Cup. More Americans (both men and women) watched the Women’s World Cup final than the NBA finals or the Stanley Cup. However, the U.S. women’s national team still earns less than their male counterparts regardless of their victories, talent, or the number of viewers they attract.

Just last week, members of the U.S. women’s soccer team filed a federal complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination. The file includes USSF figures from 2015 that indicate that the women players were paid four times less than men players despite generating $20 million more revenue than the men’s team (ticket sales, TV views, advertisements). U.S. Soccer’s response to the federal complaint was “disappointed.”

Hope Solo recently spoke to NBC on the issue and stated:

"We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it.”

"In this day and age, it's about equality. It's about equal rights. It's about equal pay. We're pushing for that. We believe now the time is right because we believe it's our responsibility for women's sports and specifically for women's soccer to do whatever it takes to push for equal pay and equal rights. And to be treated with respect."

The U.S. Women’s Soccer team has instilled pride in America and encouraged young women soccer players to pursue their dreams. With the current climate, women can pursue their goals on a professional level and be the best in the country, yet will not be compensated on the same level as men’s teams. The women player’s lawsuit should not be receiving “disappointed” from USSF. The only thing that is disappointing, is the fact that women athletes are not being recognized or compensated for their talent, dedication, and contributions to the industry.

The United States National team has not only influenced the lives of millions of young women, but has also greatly impacted the American economy. Over the past 25 years, the Women’s national team has single handedly brought soccer into the United States. Soccer is an internationally loved sport; 209 countries compete competitively around the world, and fight for the World Cup. Women have struggled to be recognized in the world of soccer for years. Men’s professional soccer took wave in the late 1800s, Women did not seriously compete until 1920 in Great Britain. In the United States, professional soccer took even longer to gain attention. In 1991, the Women’s National team won the World Cup Championship for the first time ever. In 1996 the Women’s national team won the first ever Women’s soccer gold medal at the Olympics. Three years later, the same team filled the Rose Bowl with 90,000 fans and defeated China in regulation overtime in the 1999 World Cup,

The 1999 World Cup victory initiated Soccer Hysteria in the United States. The Women were televised on every top News Program the nation, made an appearance at the White House, and were seen on the covers on Time, Newsweek, People, and Sports Illustrated. America reacted to the National team's success by creating Soccer Club programs for Women all over the country. Competitive soccer became a possibility for young girls at all ages, for the first time ever young women found the confidence to participate in competitive athletics. The national team gave young women the opportunity to dream of succeeding in an element they had not yet seen to be possible.

The Women’s National team deserves equal pay for not only working as hard as men do, and gaining just as much revenue; but for bringing the sport of soccer into the lives of thousands of young women.

Hopefully, the complaints by the U.S. Women's Soccer team will be heard and encourage more women, in any industry, to speak out against this injustice. Happy #Equal PayDay ...