Overtime: More Money More Problems


Once again, women athletes are fighting for the pay they so rightfully deserve. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Just one year ago, the United States women’s national team (USWNT) signed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with U.S. Soccer, granting women equal pay to their male counterparts. Now, a new country is facing a similar issue.

The Canadian women’s national team recently expressed their outrage over budget cuts for 2023. In a social media post, players of the national team mentioned that the team has been at an all-time high in terms of success in games as well as generating revenue. Canada won its first Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer in 2021, and the men’s team qualified for the World Cup last year for the first time in 36 years. Knowing this, Canada Soccer still has not funded the organization properly.

But even beyond pay, players are increasingly frustrated with the management of Canada Soccer, including one such player, Jessie Flemming. “There are two larger issues that exist within Canada Soccer,” she wrote in an Instagram post last week. “We are not asking for money that does not exist in our organization. We are asking for the same opportunity to perform and the necessary changes within the organization to ensure financial sustainability moving forward, ultimately supporting both the senior national teams and youth development.”

In protest of the current management, the Canadian women’s team threatened not to play in the SheBelieves Cup in the U.S. However, management threatened them with hefty fines and legal action to force them into playing.

But the players would not be silenced. The women’s team wore their practice jerseys inside out and purple warm up jerseys with “enough is enough” written on them. Purple is a symbolic color for gender discrimination, worn by many women in the equal pay pursuit.

This recurring cycle, present in women’s sports, has been unacceptable. What is crazy is how detailed the budget cuts are, especially going into the World Cup this summer. The budget cuts have left players with fewer training sessions, some training windows completely wiped from the calendar and fewer players and staff members invited to train. The worst part? Players also have alleged that they haven’t been paid at all for the 2022 season.

Now, the Canadian team is threatening to strike once again in April after the SheBelieves Cup. I truly hope they are able to stick with it and go on strike. At this point, the team has been dealt such a bad card, even with all their achievements. It is crazy to me that in 2023, women athletes are being tossed aside for no reason and essentially reduced to budget cuts.

What is even scarier to think is that the U.S. collective bargaining agreement battle was just the first step — and it took years just to get what they so rightfully deserve. Now, going down the line, more and more countries’ CBAs are going to expire, and the lengthy process we saw with the U.S. will happen to so many other teams.

Canada and the U.S. squared off for the opening match of the SheBelieves Cup, with the U.S. taking the match 2-0. The Canadians felt “exhausted,” having to shoulder this legal battle and play the game they love so much. Management has to realize that by allowing this to go on, it will have an effect on their performance, and it isn’t fair to the players or the fans watching.

Now, with everything going on, it’s hard to predict how difficult it will be for Canada to get the money they so rightfully deserve. But if it’s anything like the U.S. battle, I’ll at least have comfort knowing that one day, the women will get management to back them.