U.S. Soccer Star Stands Up For Collective Bargaining

A new U.S. women’s soccer league will be launching this year, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the game following the U.S. women’s national team’s 2012 Olympic gold medal. And one of the stars of that medal run — striker Alex Morgan — wants to make sure that the players in the new league have a strong collective bargaining position:

“We’re still looking to finalize our negotiations with U.S. Soccer, both the women’s national team contract and the [contract with the] league,” Morgan said of the details still to be worked out for the national team as a whole and the participation of those players, subsidized by U.S. Soccer, in the NWSL. “And we’re hoping that is going to be solved in a timely manner so we can focus all of our efforts on the league and getting it started in March.” […]

“When I was drafted [in WPS], I wasn’t really sure what went on and what kind of salaries are given, what the quality of the team was — not only in terms of players, but coaching staff, training staff, training facility, that sort of stuff,” Morgan said. “Now being on this side of it, we really wanted to not only fight for us, but also those players not on the national team that didn’t really have a say. We had to be their voice. I think it’s finding that middle ground between sacrificing a little bit of what we want for the betterment of the league and for all of the players.

Morgan has some familiarity with problematic collective bargaining: the women’s national team has a shoddier agreement with U.S. soccer than the men’s national team, which, among other things, results in worse airline accommodations for the women.

Already, another star women’s soccer player, Abby Wambach, is warning that salaries in the new league will be so low that players may have to hold down other jobs in order to get by. But a strong collective bargaining agreement can help ensure that’s not the case forever.