Men versus Women: United States National Soccer Teams

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Brad Tutterow (Flikr User)

Managing Editor, Meghan Laakso, captures the difference between men’s and women’s soccer in the U.S.

Meghan Laakso, Managing Editor

As a past female soccer player, I know a lot about the sport. When it comes to skill, speed, team involvement, and all around field knowledge- women know how it best. Ever since I’ve started watching the United States Women’s National Team play in big tournaments (like the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics) I have started to lose patience for any kind of men’s soccer (unless it’s Leo Messi. I always watch Leo Messi). Am I biased because I am a girl? Well, probably. But I think there is more to it.

When I was little, I had absolutely no idea professional soccer existed for women. And yes- I did dream of playing in the major leagues but it was centered around being the first girl player on the Seattle Sounders- the first girl to go professional. So, in my ignorance, I thought men’s soccer was the best thing in the world when in reality, it was all I had to watch.

It wasn’t until I was paying attention to the London Olympics that I came across the Women’s National Team. At first I didn’t even recognize the game- it looked like a whole new sport. There was no selfishness in their play. The game didn’t stop every two minutes because of a ‘serious’ injury. There was no drama in the game whatsoever.

Since then I have watched the Women’s team take home a gold medal, a world cup win, and second place at a world cup. I’ve looked into the lives of the players. I’ve studied each city looking for a women’s team to go watch in person. Thankfully, Seattle has one: The Reign.

The more I watched, the more I learned and began to connect some players to my own life. Stephanie Cox, a retired defender for the National Team and the Reign, lives in Gig Harbor. My cousin grew up with Hope Solo – the goalie who is considered to be the best in the world- and took her to prom.

Yeah, sometimes the theatrics of a men’s game is entertaining. But the selfish play is hard to watch. Men will go through each other and then lose the ball while women pass around to maintain possession. I mean, come on. It’s 11v11 not 1v11!

Let’s not even talk about how men deal with getting ‘hurt’. One tiny push and they’re on the ground rolling around grabbing different parts of their body as if they have glass bones and paper skin. This is not drama class. You are not hurt. Get up and play.

Currently there is an issue going on in the U.S. where the women’s national team is being paid significantly less than the men’s. This is appalling since I can’t name the last title the men have gotten. Just last summer the women’s team beat Japan in the finals of the World Cup 5-2.

In the year of 2015, the U.S. soccer federation made 16 million dollars off of the women’s team but they lost money with the men’s team. Depending on the match, women can be paid anywhere from 28-62% less than men. To put that into perspective, men get up to $17,625 for a win and $5,000 for a loss. Women never get paid above $4,950 even if they win every game.

There is a huge difference between men’s and women’s soccer and it goes far beyond game time. There is inequality in their workplace. Men’s stars have stepped out saying that they support the women getting equal pay but, Landon Donovan, a formed men’s national team player and player for Los Angeles, made a statement that the girls should get paid for revenue and shouldn’t be comparing themselves to the men.

If that were the case, the Women’s National Team just made $16 million last year along with the title of World Cup Champions. If they were paid based off of their revenue, it would be the men complaining about unequal pay.

It is interesting how gender inequality exists in every field of work whether its at a construction site, an office building, or the soccer field.

Like I said above- men’s soccer is testing my patience and the fact they get paid up to $17,000 for each win is beyond me. Why is it so rewarding when it’s basically a bunch of two-year-olds running around refusing to share and then throwing a fit when someone bumps into them.

Now go watch some real soccer and be a part of the movement to get the women’s team the pay they deserve. I promise that you will be blown away by their skill!