U.S. Soccer: One Nation, But Two Divided Teams?

For years professional sports have been male dominated with females athletes receiving not nearly as much mainstream attention as men’s sports. While that may still be true to a certain extent, the continuous growth in popularity of women’s sports cannot be denied. Female athletes such as Ronda Rousey, Serena Williams, and of course the U.S women’s national soccer team, female athletes are starting to become extremely marketable to the public.

The U.S. women’s national team in particular has received enormous amount of  mainstream attention in the U.S. As the reigning world champions, the women’s national team is a dominant force in the sport of soccer and is currently ranked number one in the world by FIFA. That ranking was verified even more as the team recently disposed of Colombia easily with a score of 7-0. The men’s team, on the other hand, are ranked only 29th in the world by FIFA, and are seen by experts as pedestrian at best.

U.S soccer’s slogan of “One Nation, One Team” has become nothing but a meaningless catchphrase. Not only are the two teams divided in terms of results, there also seems to be a new problem that has put U.S. soccer under heavy fire from the public. The women’s team recently sued the U.S soccer federation, accusing them of unequal pay. According to them, in 2015, U.S. soccer paid them a quarter of the salary of the men, despite winning the world cup that same year.

According to ESPN, the U.S women's team was awarded $2 million from FIFA after winning their third World Cup, while the men’s team earned $9 million for getting eliminated in the round of sixteen. This is not an unfair treatment, as FIFA simply makes much more in revenue from the men’s World Cup than the women’s. The fact is the men’s World Cup is still so much bigger than the women’s, and according to businessinsider.com, the 2014 men’s world cup in Brazil made $4.8 billion in revenue.

Although women’s soccer might not be the phenomenon worldwide that the men’s game is, in the U.S the two are very close. In fact, according to the New York Times, the 2015 Women’s World Cup between the U.S and Japan was the most watched soccer game in the history of the U.S., drawing over 26.7 million viewers. Not only that, but according to Forbes magazine, in 2015 the Women’s national team made approximately $5.8 million more in revenue than the men.

 The women not only generated more in revenue, but they are also significantly more dominant than the men. The women’s team has only been around since 1985 and has already won the World Cup three times. The men’s team, on the other hand, have never made it further in the World Cup than the quarter finals despite having existed for longer than the women’s team.

Despite all of this the Women earn much less money from U.S. soccer than the men:

  • Over the course of one calendar year, both teams play 20 exhibition games also known as friendlies. For each friendly win, each women’s player earns $1,500 per win, while each men’s team player earns $5,000 regardless of the result, and up to $17,500 if they win, depending on the opponent's ranking.
  • Female players earn $15,000 each for making their World Cup roster, while each male player earns $68,750 for making their World Cup roster.
  • There is a bonus for tickets sold in a game for each player. For women, the bonus is $1.20 per ticket while for the men, the bonus is $1.50, a difference of 30 cents.

With that being said the difference between the money that men’s team makes compared to the women’s team solely from U.S. Soccer is ridiculous, considering that the women simply are more popular and make more revenue for U.S soccer. It is a clear example of wage discrimination towards women and represents the sexist views of our society.  

Abhishek Rana

Abhishek Rana is in his junior year and third year on the Blue and Gold staff. Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, Rana came to the US in the fall of 2011 where he started school at Ferryway elementary school. Even before moving to America, sports was a major part of Rana’s life, he spent a large part of his free time playing soccer or watching sports like football, basketball and soccer. His favorite sports teams are Chelsea FC, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Boston Celtics. While he does not watch a lot of TV shows, Rana is among those who keep up with the Game of Thrones series and the British comedy, Doctor Who. He is also an avid music lover, his favorite genre being alternative rock. When asked to describe himself, Rana stated that he is a very “passionate” person when it comes to things he enjoys and he describes himself as enthusiastic and outgoing. Hoping for a successful year, Rana is looking forward to overseeing the sports section of the Blue and Gold.

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