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The US Women’s soccer team dominated the women’s team from Thailand 13 to nil a couple of days ago in World Cup pool play. I watched the entire game. Yes, it was lopsided but it was so impressive to watch the skill and athleticism of these amazing women. Unfortunately, but not unexpected, instead of being congratulated for setting a World Cup record for the largest margin of victory and most goals scored in a game, the team was chided for poor sportsmanship. Seriously? Do you think if a men’s team had this margin of victory that the same criticism would be dished out? I doubt it. If Alex Morgan stood over the Thai goalie and trashed talked her after scoring a goal, that’s poor sportsmanship. You know, like what happens after a dunk in men’s basketball. Can you imagine the controversy if she did that? Or how about if Megan Rapinoe and team did a goal box choreographed dance after they scored a touchdown? Oops, I mean a goal. How shameful would that be?
Sure, the women won big over the team that was called the weakest team in the tourney. (Last time US and Thailand played the US won 9-0). Let’s stop chastising the winning team. Instead, why don’t we look deeper into why the Thai team is not yet at the same level as the other qualifying teams. Bring them up as opposed to tearing the other team down. Call it whatever you want, a double standard, the Goldilocks Dilemma, or a double bind. This is getting old. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the soccer pitch or a corporate office, women are held to a double standard for their behavior in the workplace. Women can’t be too tough or too soft, they need to be just right – whatever that means.
In the background of the WC, the US Women’s team has a lawsuit pending against the US Soccer Federation for gender and pay discrimination. Excellent strategy. Team, to file right before being on the world stage and dominating in the World Cup. The pay disparity is astounding. If you are on the US Men’s team and play 20 exhibition games in a year, you will receive approximately $265,000. For the same, 20 games, a woman will get paid a maximum of $99,000. FIFA is a notorious player in this pay inequity game. The French men’s team that won the 2018 WC earned $38M. The 2019 women’s WC championship team will earn 11% of the men’s purse – a paltry $4M in comparison. What is more startling is the disparity in how losers are paid. The US men’s team was knocked out in the first round of pool play in 2015 and they got $8M. Whereas, the women, who played 7 games and won the World Cup, received $2M.
Every four years the best soccer athletes take the world stage which is a perfect opportunity to bring attention to this issue. Go #USWNT! Keep the fight up in the courtroom and on the playing field. Continue to dominate, score as many goals as athletically possible, win by unbelievable margins and continue to bring attention to the team. You have massive support from around the world.