This past week, the U.S. women’s soccer team added another World Cup to their growing collection.
No other team has won multiple World cups except for Germany, who won twice. The U.S. women’s soccer team has won four times.
For this team, winning is nothing new.
When you look up their recent record, you’re greeted with a sea of green, with the occasional yellow indicating a tied game. The last time they lost was in January in a friendly game against France.
This team is nothing short of phenomenal, and has captured our hearts and attention as we’ve watched them struggle and succeed in record-breaking glory.
At least, we have for the past couple days. How many current fans followed the team their entire season?
How many know the names of the players besides Megan Rapinoe?
Many people were likely unaware of the U.S. women’s team before their victory.
Surely one could have guessed the team’s existence, much in the same way one assumes we have a figure skating team in the Winter Olympics.
Granted, soccer is not a popular sport in the United States. A 2017 Gallup poll showed that football and basketball dominate American sports, with a majority of those surveyed saying they watched one or the other.
This comes as no surprise, the Superbowl is one of the most-watched events on television.
However, the popular National Football League and National Basketball Association do not have women’s teams. Sure, there is the Women’s National Basketball Association, but only hardcore fans know much about it.
Women’s sporting events are often unbroadcasted or placed on secondary sport network channels, such as ESPN2.
The discrepancy in popularity among women’s sports is astounding and perhaps, calculated.
This difference in popularity leads to a difference in pay, meaning that teams that may perform better than others might be paid less.
This fact was evident at the 2019 FIFA World Cup championship game. After the game was won, a chant of “equal pay” erupted throughout the stadium.
The inequality between male and female sports permeates beyond national teams and even into local sports. For instance, in 2017 head basketball coach Dan Muller was the highest paid employee at ISU, earning $504,116.
The second highest paid employee was university President Larry Dietz who earned over $100,000 less in that same time period ($383,121).
Head women’s basketball coach Kristin Gillespie was the 150th highest paid employee, making less than half of Muller’s salary in that same amount of time ($129,803).
It’s time women and men start earning equal pay for equal work, and that starts small. Athletic pay is often determined by team popularity and how much sponsorship money is brought into the university.
Sports fans should give the women’s teams a try, if the U.S. women’s soccer team is any example, it will be equally as electrifying and inspiring.