Preseason starts March 11 for National Women’s Soccer League teams, but the cornerstones of the league – US women’s national team players – are still without a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The US Soccer Federation and the US Women’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association (USWNSTPA) are yet to come to an agreement after the previous deal, ratified in 2006, expired at the end of 2012.
USWNSTPA lawyer John B. Langel says he is “in regular contact with Sunil (Gulati, US Soccer president)” and hopes the two parties can reach an agreement soon.
“We’d like to get it done yesterday,” Langel said via telephone on Friday evening. “We’ve got an NWSL season that they want to get started, so we’d like to get it done before then.”
US Soccer declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations.
Each US women’s national team player competing in the NWSL will have a national team component and an NWSL component to her contract, but the details are still being worked out. Those details do, however, need to be finalized before the NWSL season starts on April 13.
“We need to have a deal done for NWSL,” Langel said.
This is the first CBA negotiation in which Gulati is president of the USSF. He was elected to the position two months after the last CBA was ratified. Langel has represented the USWNSTPA since 1998, ushering the players’ association through the WUSA and WPS eras. Each of the three leagues have presented unique scenarios, he said.
“We’re eager. Everybody wants to get it done,” Langel said. “We’ve had good conversations, but it’s all new. We did a WUSA deal; that was one way to do it. We did a WPS deal; that was another way to do it. This is a third way to do it. In the WUSA we talked to the WUSA, in WPS we talked to WPS and now we’re talking to US Soccer.”
Asked about CBA negotiations on a Jan. 14 conference call, US forward Abby Wambach said she was “confident” a deal would be reached.
“We are all working very diligently,” she said just days after being allocated to the Western New York Flash. “So many conference calls, so many emails between players, lawyers and US Soccer. Those are the things that we are trying to expedite and get done in a timely fashion so that it can be behind us and we can focus our attention on the game.”
The US women will be delayed in their arrival to NWSL training camps as is. Their last match at the Algarve Cup in Portugal is a March 13 placement game against an opponent to be determined.
Mexico is also at the Algarve Cup, while Canada competes at the simultaneously run Cyprus Cup.