With the new National Women’s Soccer League season having just kicked off this week, one major news story looms- the United States Women’s National Team’s wage discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer.
Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation. Obviously, the USWNT and NWSL are inter-twined, as the best players on the national team, #1 in the world, are also the best players in the American domestic league. On the other hand, there is of course a very distinctive firewall between club and country.
Certainly so for the players
“I have no idea. I think that it’s completely separate as far as I know,” said United States/Chicago Red Stars Striker Christen Press at Red Stars Media Day.
“I think the coolest thing about our national team is our ability to sort of keep all of that stuff off the field and be able to play at a high level. I don’t think it’s something we’re thinking about or talking about, we’re just here to do our jobs.”
What about the worst case scenario- an Olympic boycott? That’s an idea which is floating around, but does it have any legitimacy?
“At this point, my job isn’t to really speculate about what we’re going to be doing off the field, my job is to come and perform.”
“There’s a lot of things that would have to happen before I’d be worried about boycotting the Olympics. I’m trying to make the Olympic squad. Trying to have a great season in the NWSL and that’s what I’m thinking about,” she continued.
During the national media call previewing the NWSL, U.S. and defending champion Kansas City Defender Becky Sauerbrunn, was asked several times about the USWNT‘s EEOC wage discrimination case as well as the possibility of an Olympic boycott, but she kept deflecting the questions and stayed on message.
Women’s soccer, for both club and country, reached new heights in 2015. There was a big surge in success, and with that, a surge in interest. The Red Stars, who lost their season opener in Houston this past weekend and take on Western New York in their home opener Saturday, are coming off their best season in franchise history.
Christen Press was their leading scorer and face of the franchise, and she returns to that up front role, both on and off the pitch, this season.
With the USWNT, she figures to see more playing time and have an increased role this summer.
It’s an exciting time for the Red Stars and Press. The growing momentum for the game from last summer carries over to this summer, and then you have the Rio Olympics in August to keep it going.
The Red Stars also move into a bigger and better home this season- the Chicago Fire’s Toyota Park.
“This is a really important time in women’s sports, and the NWSL” said Press.
“We are trying to become more professional, and trying to up the quality and resources that the players have available. That’s really important. It’s great that we’re sustainable, it’s great that we’re getting more fans out but that needs to translate to the players and the people working hard for this and I think it is.
“Moving to Toyota Park is a transition that we’re really proud of.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.
He also consistently appears on numerous talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram
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