The next few months could be among the most important in American women’s soccer history, with significant change on the horizon for both the NWSL and USWNT.
The big picture: Collective bargaining agreements tend to be tedious, and lawsuits can drag on. But as 2022 approaches, that’s where the action is.
- The NWSLPA will negotiate its first-ever CBA this offseason, which comes on the heels of a scandal-ridden campaign that exposed the need for cultural and structural change.
- The USWNT is also negotiating a new CBA, all while remaining at the forefront of a global push for gender pay equity. The team’s 2019 discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer is still ongoing.
The backdrop: Interest in women’s sports has been on the rise for years, and there’s a sense that we’ve reached a turning point.
- Ratings are up, coverage is increasing, female athletes are commanding more attention and sponsors are spending more money.
- “The stakeholders on the commercial side of sports are constantly searching for the next frontier,” Dan Cohen of Octagon Sports told WashPost. “It is clearly women’s sports.”
Between the lines: As the NWSL and USWNT players pursue transformative change, both on and off the field, they can set a new standard for women’s sports — not just in America but around the world.
The bottom line: “The idea that women athletes are expected to just be appreciative that they have an opportunity … we’re past that point,” Cheryl Cooky, editor of the Sociology of Sports Journal, told Axios’ Erin Doherty.
This story is part of a special report on the state of U.S. women’s soccer. It appeared first in Axios Sports. (Sign up here.)
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kendall Baker