US National Women’s Team Wins FIFA World Cup And Spotlights Equal Pay Among Athletes

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The US National Women’s Team (USWNT) won the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands held in Lyon, France last July 7. The win marks the US Team’s second win at the World Cup. 

Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle led the USWNT to their victory. Rapinoe scored a goal during a penalty in the first half. Lavelle later surged forward with another goal eight minutes after. 

Rapinoe was awarded the Golden Boot, an award for being the top goal scorer, for scoring six goals and three assists in the entire season. The 34-year-old athlete bet out her teammate Alex Morgan, who also had the same stats. However, Rapinoe took the award with 428 minutes per goal as compared to Morgan’s 490 minutes. Morgan received the Silver Boot, while Ellen White of the England Team received the Bronze Boot.

Rapinoe also won the Golden Ball; an award presented to the best player in the FIFA World Cup finals. England’s Lucy Bronze and US Team’s Rose Lavelle received the Silver and Bronze Ball, respectively.

The US team’s coach, Jill Ellis is also the first coach to win FIFA Women’s World Cup twice in the history.

The Dutch Team did not let the Americans win that easily. The US team struggled to get a goal in the first half. All this thanks to Netherlands’ goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who block a volley from Julie Ertz and another two from Morgan. 

Van Veenendaal won the Golden Glove, an award given to the best goalkeeper in the tournament. The FIFA Young Player Award was given to Giulia Gwinn, the 20-year-old midfielder from the Germany Team. 

The US Team’s 2019 win is their fourth in the eight editions that they’ve joined. However, this is one of the most historic because of the political protests done by the team, with Rapinoe mostly leading it.

Equal Pay and Civil Rights Causes

For years, women soccer players have been fighting for equal pay. However, this year, the issue was highlighted because of the US team were blatantly talking about it in every media.

As the US team take a bow on their latest win, shouts of celebration erupted. What’s deafening wasn’t only the shouts of joy, but also chants of “Equal Pay!” rocking the stadium.

In 2016, Rapinoe with four members of the USWNT filed a Charge of Discrimination against the United States Soccer Federation for wage discrimination. The women athletes cited instances when the women’s team were paid less than their male peers. 

This discrepancy is glaring, especially with the fact that the USWNT has won their third World Cup in 2016 (and now their fourth), while the men’s team have not yet advanced past quarterfinals in the recent years. 

Rapinoe protested by using her platform in sharing their causes in the media. In a game in 2016, Rapinoe gave the nod to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Rapinoe had to give up taking the knee when the United States Soccer Federation adopted a rule requiring players to stand and honor the flag. 
Since then, Rapinoe stands without singing the National Anthem or placing her right hand over her chest. 

Aside from Rapinoe’s refusal to sing the National Anthem, her interview with Eight by Eight started her feud with the US President. 

It all started with a reporter asking Rapinoe if she was excited to visit the White House. The superstar athlete scoffs and tells the reporter that she is not going to the White House. Furthermore, she tells the reporter that the Women’s Team will not be invited to visit at all. 

The remark prompted President Donald Trump to respond on Twitter. President Trump wrote. “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!”

The President’s tweet prompted Sue Bird, Rapinoe’s partner, to write a post in The Players Tribune titled So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend. In the article, Bird emphasized that President Trump has never invited a WNBA champion to a White House, contrary to the President’s tweet that athletes love coming to the White House. 

Since then, Rapinoe and the rest of the US Team have been invited to the House of Representatives and Senate. 

Now that the US team secured their fourth win, the team aims to continue the conversation on equal pay among national teams. 

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