Some details emerge on new CBA, negotiations

John D Halloran April 19, 2017 29
New insights into the USWNT's new CBA have been disclosed. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

New insights into the USWNT’s new CBA have been disclosed. (Photo Copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Two weeks ago, U.S. Soccer and the United States Women’s National Team Players’ Association announced they had come to terms on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement. The deal came after months of tense negotiations and feuds that occasionally spilled into the public arena.

As first reported by The New York Times, the deal includes a sizable increase in base pay for the players, as well as other benefits. The Equalizer has since learned additional details about the new CBA.

The new agreement, while not explicitly banning turf as a playing surface, does provide provisions to avoid a situation like the cancelled friendly in December 2015. For those who don’t remember, U.S. Soccer cancelled a scheduled match against Trinidad and Tobago in Honolulu after the players discovered large tears in the stadium turf during a pregame walkthrough only one day after Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL on a (grass) practice field in Hawaii that the players called “subpar.”

{RELATED: Mallory Pugh leaves UCLA to go pro | Monday Roundup: Jostling for Pugh begins}

In 2016, the players’ fight took on a publicly combative tone that included a lawsuit, an EEOC complaint and declarations to wear shirts and temporary tattoos expressing equal pay messages during U.S. events. According to a representative from the players’ association, those tactics brought a lot of positive public attention to the equal pay issue but didn’t necessarily result in “progress at the table.”

160707 USWNT

In the new year, with new representation, there was an opportunity to hit the “reset button” in negotiations with U.S. Soccer, leading to the deal made earlier this month. That agreement came only a few days after U.S. hockey players won a similar fight with their federation, USA Hockey.

The U.S. Soccer players were “very supportive” of the hockey players’ “courageous” fight for better pay. And while the timing of the two agreements was “serendipitous,” the USWNT players see the two events as part of a broader fight towards equal pay for women.

The new soccer CBA also includes provisions for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). While the USWNTPA represents only national team players and cannot negotiate salaries for those outside the national team, the union spent a lot of negotiating capital on getting the league to increase standards and force U.S. Soccer, as the main enforcement body of professional leagues in the United States, to oversee those improvements.

There is a recognition from the union that “the success and the future of the women’s game relies on the NWSL.”

Finally, there is hope for a better coexistence between the league and the federation regarding disruptions to the NWSL season in the future.

“The players don’t want to miss their club games,” said the representative.

  • DNG

    Still pretty light on the details. I guess it’s good to hear that USWNT members don’t want to miss NWSL matches.

    • Ashley C

      A lot of them say that but sometimes their actions say otherwise tbh.

      • DNG

        Well I don’t have an issues believing that it isn’t the case for all USWNT players. I feel pretty comfortable believing that quiet a few players care a lot about their clubs though.

    • Hwah

      RIght?! We have not-really-newsworthy little tidbits to offer here. But thank you for your clicks! I bit, the site got the click, but……..yawn….I blame myself for expecting more.

    • Guest

      That’s completely laughable. Maybe there are few young NT players or players in and out of the NT who care about their teams. Most do not care and only promote their teams when it helps promote themselves. Do you honestly believe the NT players care about missing their NWSL team matches?

      • DNG

        I do otherwise I would have noted my skepticism in my comment.

  • sandrae gunter

    So what’s new?

    • kernel_thai

      Yep, this is what Sauerbrunn said…that the PA went to bat for NWSL…odd that no one is saying how, Is it that Ellis noticed the FIFA calendar on her desk? Is it by reducing the number of contracts/allocations to 22? Is it by investing even more guaranteed money into a smaller number of players instead of spreading it over it over a larger group? If the PA wants me to believe this contract does anything but feather their own nests, they need to release some facts to support it.

      • Guest

        You can rest assured that any time the NT players “went to bat” for their sisters in the NWSL it was more PR than reality and it probably benefits them as much or more than the NWSL players. Meanwhile they still made sure that Jill has to bring them all into every camp and limited the number of non contract players who Jill can look at. I’ll bet Jill still couldn’t hold a camp or combine with a bunch of deserving NWSL without union bosses being there. Funny how they filed an EEOC claim, created a bumper sticker about equal pay and then immediately pivoted away from what the men’s team gets. The men aren’t guaranteed pay for a year or more just because they got a NT contract. What a joke.

    • guest

      the only thing in here not reported elsewhere is the provision about pitch quality. one paragraph with no details about the provision other than to suggest it’s better than the old one

      in other words this is clickbait

      • kernel_thai

        Foudy or Wagner alluded to this on Lifetime saying that turf fields weren’t banned in the CBA because they didt want to exclude Portland.

  • Steglitz49

    The fundamental issue remains unresolved. The USNT should consist of the best players at the time of selection. It cannot be an exclusive ladies club with lifetime membership through being born on the right side of the railway tracks.

    As long as the head coach cannot select whom s/he prefers, it is business as usual, which may well suit the Veterans but will not build a US Golden Generation cherished by all and sundry.

    • Diane (DeeG)

      Since we don’t know the specifics of selection for this CBA, you can’t really say anything about what is unresolved.

      • Constant Weeder

        It is known that players will still be under contract, rather than being selected game by game, so the coach’s ability to choose the best roster at the time is restricted. That problem is clearly unresolved.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you for your support and putting it so clearly. Much obliged.

        • Diane (DeeG)

          While true that a certain number of players will be under contract, what we don’t know is how much freedom Ellis has to call in pool players and for how long/how many times. Even w/ contracts she can still field a pretty varied line up. Contracts haven’t gone away, but I think there will be increasing flexibility over the term of the CBA. So if no contracts is your resolution, then yes, it’s unresolved. But I do think it is getting closer.

          • Constant Weeder

            I hope you’re right. It’s one reason I look forward to the day when NWSL can cut the apron strings and the teams can pay all their players. That’s far in the future at this point, but at the same time I’m grateful that the league is in a position where it’s even possible to dream of.

          • Guest

            Believe me, if you think the Union would ever consider giving Jill the ability to look at and choose a lot more players not under contract you have not been paying very close attention. Getting closer? They are now protected for 5 more years. For 5 more years Jill will have to bring the union bosses into every camp and will only be able to invite a limited number of outsiders. It’s a joke.

          • Diane (DeeG)

            You nor anyone not involved with negotiations knows what the terms are. The reason I say it’s getting better is that already more players are being vetted by the senior team. Originally the USSF was subsidizing 24 players, this year it’s 22 (with a possible Pugh as 23). I got the impression that it will decrease over the course of the CBA or at the very least USSF is not going to use all the contracts it has available just to “protect her favorites” as some have accused. And since I don’t know what the terms are either, I’m just going off what I’ve read and what certain players involved have said. We shall all see, but I hold out hope that the players negotiated this CBA with a time when club play would pay their bills rather than solely NT duty in mind.

  • guest

    “the future lies in hte NWSL” yet the old girls’ club still has vet protection. “Equality” will only come with pay to play. Hypocrites.

    • guest

      the uswnt gang of five should all be dropped by the ussf for their campaign of lies and deception subjected against the american public.

      • Hwah

        Okay, comrade.

    • Guest

      Equal Pay for Equal Play. What a joke. They immediately went for guarantees and protections. I think they should throw all of their NT pay and endorsements money into a bucket with all of the NWSL player pay and divide it equally amongst everyone with a contract. After all those players are working just as hard as the NT players right?

  • sudeep das

    Barca giving a masterclass on how to breakdown a 8 man defense- just can’t find the net. Hope the USWNT is watching.

    • Steglitz49

      Can’t compare BroSo with WoSo in all aspects.

    • Ashley C

      No, the USWNT needs help in breaking down teams and scoring. Not sure tonight’s game was right for that.

      • DNG

        Barca actually did a pretty poor job of creating clear chances in both matches although their finishing was also poor.

  • guest123

    GOOD NEWS – Both UWCL matches between Manchester City vs Lyon will be streamed on ESPN3. First leg in MCWFC this Sat, April 22nd @ 9am EST. Second Leg in Lyon on Sat, April 29th @ 2:45pm EST.

    Also, the other UWCL match, PSG
    vs Barcelona will air live on BEINSports US Channel 5 this Sat, April
    22nd @ 11:45am EST. No word yet if they’ll also air the 2nd leg.

    Spread the word….

    https://twitter.com/thegoalkeeper/status/854849397498228738

    • Steglitz49

      Thank you. BEIN belongs to the same owners as PSG.

      But. You do write in the strangest way — “First leg in MCWFC” — why not simply type — “the first leg is in Manchester” or “Man City women are at home for the first leg” — which is easy on the eyes.