NWSL Players Announce Establishment of Players Association

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NWSL Players Announce Establishment of Players Association

New group a likely precursor to players union.

NWSL non-allocated players announced on Monday the establishment of a players association, the first step to creating a players union. The new group w

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NWSL non-allocated players announced on Monday the establishment of a players association, the first step to creating a players union. The new group will encompass players who are not allocated into the league by their national teams (the U.S. Women’s National Team has its own union, and the Canadian Women’s National Team is reportedly forming one) and will crucially include both professional non-allocated players and amateur players, who get periodic call-ups to the professional team to fill in for injuries or international absences, but who get few of the benefits of actually playing professional soccer.

The NWSLPA will be lead by former goalkeeper Meghann Burke, and a report in Vice Sports says FC Kansas City defender Yael Averbuch will be among the team representatives for the group.

According to the release put out by the players association, an “overwhelming majority” of those eligible for representation voted to form the group, which is effectively a precursor to eventually creating a players union. While the league raised the minimum salaries substantially this offseason, those salaries remain extremely low, up from $6,000 to $15,000, and those players who are not allocated by the USWNT or CanWNT, even internationals from other countries, earn a maximum of $41,700 as of this season.

Given the health of the NWSL, with the league stronger than its ever been and the state of women’s pro soccer better than ever from a business standpoint, the time seems right for a union to form for those players not covered. And while there will be a tricky triangulation of interests between the league, the allocated players and the new union of non-allocated players, players unions are standard in American pro sports and there are certainly grounds for players to fight for more as far as money, facilities and ensuring improved standards. There are sure to be battles ahead, but the creation of the players association, and then one day a union, demonstrates the continued sustainability of the NWSL, and that is all around a good thing.