To the surprise of absolutely no one, the president of the United States Soccer Federation has resigned after disconcerting comments regarding the United States Women’s National Team. The USWNT is currently the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the USSF over earnings.
There are two trains of thoughts when it comes to this debate: 1) Women deserve equal wages as the men’s team and deserve to be more compensated because they are more successful; 2) The men’s game drives more money on a global scale and while their percentage for large scale events such as the world cup and concacaf are the same as the women, the men’s game generates more money so they inherently receive a greater amount of money. However, this article is not about the lawsuit.
This article is about the USSF having their first female President, Cindy Parlow Cone. The forty-one year old is a seasoned veteran in the world of US Soccer. She played for the University of North Carolina from 1995-1998 and subsequently became part of the US Women’s National Team. Cindy was a force to be reckoned within college soccer as she finished her career with the Tar Heels tallying 68 goals and 53 assists as well as receiving the Hermann Trophy in 1997 and 1998 and the ACC Player of the Year in 1997. After her illustrious collegiate career she moved on to the national team where she finished her career in 2006, retiring from post-concussion syndrome. Her final career numbers for the USWNT were 158 appearances and 75 goals…truly prolific.
Cone was recently reelected as the Vice President of the USSF and will serve as the interim president until a new election next February. The new president has a lot on her plate and not only is she the first female president in the USSFs history but she is also only the second player to head the organization, the other being Werner Fricker (1984 to 1990). Cone will have to deal with the ongoing litigation and she has been very vocal on the misogynistic analysis that was given by the federation. This can certainly be a win for the USWNT program and hopefully a step-forward for those women fighting to earn what they deem to be equal pay, a pay more based on their performances as compared to the men. In my opinion, this is the best ground for the women to argue from. They are most definitely more successful in large scale events and certainly deserve to be compensated for those performances at a higher scale than the mens team; a team that failed to make the most recent Olympics and World Cup events. Cone’s counterparts have stated that she will certainly be able to succeed in her short time at the helm of the USSF and it may lead to her ultimately becoming the next permanent president of the federation.
In my opinion there is a singular option that will help Cone become the most successful president in USSF. Growing the women’s game. The women’s game, across all sports in America, is the single most successful group of Athletes from the United States at a national level. The simple fact is, United States women athletes are dominant. The heads of all major sports leagues in the US should figure out a way to grow the women’s game, fans in the United States support them on a national level and now it is time to support them on a professional league level. Make no mistake it takes a ton of skill, regardless of gender, to compete at the highest level and it is time that women get rewarded for their hard work. I mean we all saw the video of Alex Morgan still stinging corners when she was five/six/seven months pregnant.
I have faith that Cone realizes this and is going to do everything in her power to try and promote the professional women’s league and with that comes the advertising, television deals, big name sponsors, fans, the whole works: the works that allow for the US Men’s National Team to make more money at a large scale. The problem is the United States Women National Team cannot be alone in this, it needs to be done on a global scale. The women can go ahead and win this litigation but it will mean nothing if the rest of the world does not follow suit. At this point that is the main difference in pay between the men’s game and women’s game…all other countries that put out a women’s national team need to be committed in growing the women’s game. Now if you disagree with that then you are not thinking about this logically, I mean what would we expect to happen if only the US Women are successful in their efforts? Could there be a domino effect? Yes. However, I feel it is more important to get the entire world involved to develop professional leagues that can match up to the profligacy of the men’s league in England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and the United States.
Written by: Tyler “Tweeder” Bond (@tybond16)