USWNT: Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe doesn’t think of the American Football Association when she puts on the jersey of the American women’s national football team.
Instead, the two-time world champion thinks about equal pay and the next wave of players she wants to be so that she doesn’t feel in conflict and still fights against the organization.
Rapinoe wears a jersey for equal pay
OL Reign star Rapinoe and USWNT players are still battling the federation. The two sides agreed in December on a right to unequal working conditions without going to court. It opened the door for players to appeal an earlier decision on wage discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act.
“I would much rather spend my time doing absolutely everything else than fighting the association all the time to achieve something I deserve, but that’s part of it,” Rapinoe told ESPN when asked became how difficult it is to separate wearing the jersey and fighting the federation. “When I put the shirt on, I don’t think about the bandage.
“I see you [U.S. Soccer executives] I think this is cute, this is nice.
“I feel like I’m putting this shirt on for equal pay and for the fans and children who want to be in my position. So it never feels like a conflict.”
The USWNT players will appeal this spring. The first lawsuit was filed in March 2019. Since the lawsuit was filed, the USWNT has won another World Cup title and both SheBelieves Cup tournaments on home soil in 2020 and 2021. They are currently preparing for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for this summer.
Women’s soccer audience is increasing
Viewership for the SheBelieves Cup 2021 increased more than 100 percent from 2019, when the tournament was also broadcast on Fox Sports channels. The 2020 trophy was on ESPN.
The group stage win against Canada broke records that were again dropped when the US played against Brazil. It was the most watched SheBelieves Cup game on FS1.
“It’s ironic all the time. We play in full stadiums most of the time. We win most of the games,” Rapinoe said of ESPN. “The sponsorships for all of us have expired. We won the World Cup. We entertain. We do everything we ask, it’s frustrating.”
The NWSL recorded a massive rating boost with its Challenge Cup in 2020. All 23 games were broadcast on CBS All Access with one game per week on the CBS linear networks. While other major professional sports saw a drop in TV viewers, both the NWSL and WNBA grew in 2020 with the benefit of a better TV deal.
USWNT plays against France in the Olympic vote
The USWNT added another stop on their Olympic tuning tour this spring. The team will face France on April 13 in Stockholm, US football announced. It will be on ESPN2.
It is the first meeting since the USA won 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup. Rapinoe scored two goals.
The game is three days after a previously announced. The US will face Sweden on April 10th on FOX.
The group has had five wins so far this calendar year and head coach Vlatko Andonovski has made tough decisions about who to bring to Tokyo for the 18-player roster.
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