How can U.S. Soccer help the women’s game?
Although largely under-discussed in this election cycle as a whole, women’s soccer — both in terms of the national team and the domestic league — was not left out of our conversation with the USSF presidential candidates.
The United States Soccer Federation has never had the best relationship with the women’s game, made even more terse in the past few years by the Women’s National Team’s Equal Play, Equal Pay movement. The Federation under Sunil never quite treated the game with the respect that the women’s game deserves in general, but one as successful as the United States’ has also rightfully earned. And, unsurprisingly, the election for the new president doesn’t seem to be in line to change that status quo.And so when Heath sat down with four of the USSF presidential candidates — Kathy Carter, Kyle Martino, Michael Winograd, and Eric Wylanda — we made sure that women’s soccer was a part of the discussion.Here you can find what the candidates had to say in response to Crystal Dunn’s question of whether the US Soccer president should be regularly present at both the men’s and women’s national team camps, which kicked off this discussion.But there is more to the search for equality than sharing the President’s presence. Yael Averbuch, recent signing for the Seattle Reign and head of the NWSL Players Association, asked for concrete changes: what is the best way to make sure the league is strong and stable? Should all NWSL clubs be associated with MLS clubs?And Averbuch offered her own answer to her question: It’s unclear which candidate would be the best for the women’s game; it’s unclear if any will be. Some of these responses are more concrete answers than any of the candidates have given when it comes to concrete progress. But the Breakers have folded, the U-20 women just lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship final, and the Women’s World Cup is next year. It’s a critical time, and the next US Soccer president certainly has their work cut out for them.