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By Herman Sillas
The United States Women’s National Soccer Team has conquered the soccer world. It won the 2019 World Cup on July 7 in France by defeating the Netherlands, 2-0. This Women’s World Cup Final was watched by people around the globe and broadcast worldwide. It was sensational. The two women who scored the goals for the United States in the championship game were Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
But I have to tell you why I am so excited about the event. Cora and I have five children: four girls and one boy. When we were raising them in Davis, California, back in the 70s, the town had a very active soccer community. Every Saturday morning, they had soccer games going on at the local park and over the years, our girls joined teams, and Cora and I would go out to watch them play. Two of the girls went on to play for their high school girl’s team. We went to see them in those games. One of them went out for the UCLA women’s soccer team and made it, but then decided she didn’t want to play anymore and quit the team.
Monica, our No. 2 daughter, continued to play soccer in pick-up games with other women and men. She married a guy from El Salvador, and he was a player, too. He became a teacher and coached the soccer team. Monica continued to play soccer three times a week on various teams. She is now 58 years old and is still keeping her schedule. She and her husband had two daughters; both played for their high schools but don’t play now. Monica’s son, Oscar Jr., plays for his high school. Monica lives and breathes soccer.
Every four years, there is a Women’s World Cup in which national teams from countries around the globe qualify to participate. Four years ago, the United States also qualified and won the title. In four years, the team will attempt a World Cup “three-peat.”
But there are other things now that players and women are looking at, including the difference in pay compared to their male counterparts. Our women’s national team’s commitment to the sport demands that they should be paid like the men, but the amount they make is much less. The teams that participated in the men’s World Cup last year’s was $400 million. FIFA, the global governing body for soccer will pay $30 million total in prize money to the women who competed this year! That’s all? Many in the crowd that watched the women’s final were shouting after the game, “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!”
It is time that women who do the same work as men should be paid the same amount as men. We as a nation have not arrived at that point in the workplace. Men have continued to earn more money than women, merely because they are men. That has to end. If we elect a woman as the next President of this nation, will she not be entitled to the same amount that the prior male President earned? I don’t see Congress calling the new President to tell her she isn’t making the same as the prior President. She better receive the same amount.
We are at a time in history to have equality among the women for the work they do, like the men. If women don’t make the same money in the next World Cup, they might not want to go out and win another World Cup—unless they can get equal money to match the men’s share of the purse.
That is the view from the pier.
Herman Sillas is an author, artist, poet, and a former U.S. District Attorney. He may be reached at email@example.com.