As a former goalkeeper for the National Women’s Soccer League, Caroline Stanley knows that the financial state of pro women football players is very different from many other professional athletes, in particular men.
In 2015, when she left the University of Southern California early for play professionally for Seattle Reign FC, now known as OL Reign, Stanley says he relied heavily on his bag of studio from college to make ends meet. At that time, she says the league had a team salary cap that allowed them to pay only two goalkeepers, which meant that as a third rope goalkeeper it was unpaid. Later year when the first-string and second rope goalkeepers were injured, Stanley took a step in to play and a proportional contract was given. But even then, her says, the pay was less than a livable wage.
“I know for a fact I wasn’t making nearly $ 10,000 because I didn’t have to pay taxes, “he tells CNBC Make It.” Obviously I reported everything and it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re not doing anything with it money. ‘”
To bring awareness to these low salaries, which have forced many players to pick up side jobs, the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association recently launched #NoMoreSideHustles campaign. The campaign, that arrives in one moment in which the players the association is negotiating his first collective bargaining agreement, aims to highlight the need for fair and livable wages for players in so they don’t have to juggle multiple jobs as professional athletes.
Currently, the minimum player salary for the 2021 NWSL season is $ 22,000 and the maximum player the salary is $ 52,500, an increase of 10% and 5% respectively over the 2020 season. media player in Major League Soccer Earns $ 398,725 for the 2021 season.
“The continuous increase of standard of NWSL is a priority and this includes raising the player experience in all aspects, including continuing to increase compensation”an NWSL spokesperson told CNBC Make It.” NWSL player salaries e total compensation they increased each year of the league of existence, even during the pandemic “.
The NWSL says that 4% of his players Having a total compensation of less than $ 30,000, that is down 73% in 2019. However, Burke and the NWSLPA estimate the number to be a lot higher, explaining that team salary caps are $ 682,500, which must be divided by the average number of 24 players on a team. Of NWSLPA estimates, one third of they player members of the association make the minimum salary and about 75% earn $ 31,000 or less.
Stanley, who played for multiple NWSL teams during his three years in the league, says his salary was so low he owed it work odd jobs like baby sitter and coach while playing football professionally. She also lived with a guest family for part of his career because he couldn’t afford an apartment on his.
“It was very common for NWSL players to live with host families “, ha says. “I think it has improved a little because a lot of teams now i provide apartments but when i was in the league I was not provided with an apartment. “
Although life agreements can have improved since she went in pension in 2018, Stanley says the scenery of players extra work for earn a livable wage remains the same.
In response to the NWSLPA #NoMoreSideHustles campaign lot of current And former players expressed on Twitter how they had to work two, and sometimes three jobs, due to their low pay.
Jessica McDonald, a player for the courage of North Carolina of the NWSL, shared it as a player she “worked on Amazon’s packaging boxes for 10 hours a day” while also breeding it son. And Kat Williamson, a former defender for the team Portland Thorns FC, said he “cleaned up” homes for extra money and worked at a dentist office as a receptionist ».
“We know that USA women is football team they presented a seed of equal pay and we certainly do support what are they doing? in elevating the national conversation on equal pay ” says NWSLPA Executive Director Meghann Burke. “And now, us want to connect it to what is happening right here at home. “
As a former player herself, Burke said she “donated the plasma to buy groceries and toilets washed and pizza delivered “when it was.” playing in the league. Now, how head of the players association, the league’S first official union, he said he wants ensure That current And future players have a different experience.
“They were in the third iteration of women is professional football, so it is fair to say that there is some caution in controlling expenses, “he said says, referring to the Women’s United Soccer Association which lasted from 2000 to 2003 and the Women’s Professional Soccer league which lasted from 2009 to about 2012.
“So this business launched with an eye on survival on the backs of wages from poverty, “Burke adds. But now, while the NWSL sits in its ninth season with 10 teams and two expansions teams scheduled for 2022, she says the NWSL is “in a very strong position “to ask for more for his players.
In addition to collecting more of 650,000 spectators for its Challenge Cup final, NWSL has CBS as a broadcast partner and sponsor like Nationwide, Budweiser, Ally Bank and Secret, Burke points out.
“So now it feels like time to shoot … we are in a strong position to pay for these players a fair wage, “he has says. “AND more of a fair wage, it is time to respect dignity of work and autonomy of women. “
While Burke said he can’t disclose the exact salary and terms that the NWSLPA is negotiating with the league for his first CBA deal, you says the goal is to reach an agreement where players I must not work more jobs to earn a living.
“We saw Liz Shuler of the AFL-CIO comment on social media That one Work should be enough and I think it’s absolutely right “, says Burke.
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