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Katya Gokhman

Katya Gokhman

Former Florida State University women's soccer player and 7 year professional soccer veteran who has devoted her life to soccer - from within as a player and, now, as a coach and opinionated writer (I try to be unbiased but sometimes I just can't help it).

MLS Matchday 12 Odds: Can Philly Keep Their Lead?

Katya Gokhman May 15, 2019


MLS
Matchday 12 odds are released and with loads of quality games this week. Our two marquee match-ups for the week are: Philadelphia vs Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls vs Atlanta United

MLS Matchweek 12 Game Odds

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet MLS or how to bet soccer.

All listed odds from May 15 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Wednesday, May 15


Toronto FC -150Draw +310D.C. United +380
Houston Dynamo -150Draw +320Portland Timbers +350
Vancouver Whitecaps +220Draw +250Atlanta United +120
Seattle Sounders -220Draw +360Orlando City +550
Thursday, May 16Draw +260Southampton +195
Los Angeles FC -310
Draw +440FC Dallas +750
Saturday, May 18Liverpool -310
Montreal Impact -135Draw +280New England +350
Real Salt Lake +130Draw +270Toronto FC +185
San Jose Earthquakes +105Draw +280Chicago Fire +220
Philadelphia -120Draw +280Seattle Sounders +300
Minnesota United +115Draw +250Columbus +230
Houston Dynamo -130Draw +290D.C. United +320
Kansas City -250Draw +390Vancouver Whitecaps +600
Sunday, May 19
Orlando City -135Draw +280FC Cincinnati +370
New York Red Bulls +140Draw +250Atlanta United +185
FC Dallas +190Draw +260Los Angeles FC +130
LA Galaxy -270Draw +440Colorado +650

Visit FanDuel Sportsbook NJ as games near for updated odds and, for NJ residents, to place your wagers.

Odds and Ends

  • In our first marquee match of the week, Philadelphia Union (-120) take on Seattle Sounders (+300). Not only does Philadelphia have the advantage of playing at home, but they are also sitting 1st in the Eastern Conference and have a 5 game unbeaten streak. Seattle Sounders are not in a bad position either – sitting 3rd in the Western Conference. However, they have only won 1 out of 4 away games and have not beat Philly since 2016.
  • In our other marquee match up, New York Red Bulls (+140) take on Atlanta United (+185). Last week, we had high hopes for NYRB who seemed to be getting back in their groove with two back-to-back wins…until Montreal brought them back to reality beating them 2-1 in New York. They did, however, redeem themselves against Dallas this past Saturday. Meanwhile, Atlanta has been on a roll with four back to back wins. Atlanta does, however, have a difficult week ahead of them as they travel all the way to Vancouver on Wednesday after just playing this past Sunday and then heading to New York on Sunday. While Atlanta is doing that, Red Bulls get to recover and prepare the whole week for Sunday’s match up. Regardless, this will be a good indicator as to which team’s improved form is for real.

Premier League Matchday 38 Betting Odds: Only Two Matches That Matter

Katya Gokhman May 9, 2019

After this week’s utterly insane Champions League games, can the final Premier League matchday offer the same kind of excitement?

Matchday 38, again, really boils down two matches – and I think we all know what two matches those are. All eyes will be on Brighton vs Manchester City and Liverpool vs Wolves.

Matchday 38 Betting Lines Preview

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet soccer or Premier League betting.

All listed odds from May 9 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Sunday, May 12

Burnley +220Draw +270Arsenal +110
Crystal Palace -115Draw +290Bournemouth +280
Manchester United -460Draw +550Cardiff +950
Leicester +175Draw +250Chelsea +145
Tottenham +115Draw +240Everton +240
Southampton -260
Draw +380Huddersfield +700
Brighton +1300Draw +700Manchester City -650
Fulham +150 Draw +250Newcastle +170
Watford +115Draw +270West Ham +210
Liverpool -320Draw +450Wolves +750

Odds & Ends

  • Let’s start with the team projected to win the Premier league – Manchester City. Manchester City (-650) will be taking on Brighton (+1300) away at the AMEX this Sunday. The odds say it all and so do the standings – while Manchester City sit in 1st place with -850 odds to win the Premier League, Brighton sit 17th in the league.
  • However, interestingly, Brighton’s odds have dropped this week. They were over +3000 / +2000 on some sites (and for the most part, still are +2000 in England). However, in the US they’re +1300 on FanDuel and +1700 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Is Brighton seeing a flood of hopeful Liverpool fans after their epic comeback over Barcelona?
  • One half of the 2019 UEFA Champions League finalists, Liverpool (-320), take on Wolves (+750) at home Sunday. One can’t help but wonder if Klopp will now be more focused on building his team up for the Champions League final rather than exhausting himself to win the Premier League title that seems to be out of reach. With that being said, Liverpool are on a roll and have no reason to slow down. Of the last 9 meetings with Wolves, Liverpool has won six, including the last four. What’s interesting, however, and conflicting somewhat with the previous bullet, is that despite Liverpool’s dramatic win over Barcelona, the public has not pushed them to any better odds of winning the Premier league – On Monday, the odds were +550 and they have stayed the same even after the win against Barcelona.



MLS Matchday 11 Odds: No Need to “Pity” Atlanta United

Katya Gokhman May 8, 2019


MLS
Matchday 11 odds are released. Starting off the week we already have four matches on Wednesday night, including our marquee match of the week:Atlanta United and Toronto FC.

MLS Matchweek 11 Game Odds

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet MLS or how to bet soccer.

All listed odds from May 08 onFanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Wednesday, May 8
Atlanta United -180Draw +340Toronto FC +450
Columbus Crew +100Draw +270LA Galaxy +250
New York Red Bulls -135Draw +280Montreal Impact +380
Chicago Fire -165Draw +310New England +430
Friday, May 10Draw +270LA Galaxy +250
Vancouver Whitecaps +130 Draw +260Portland Timbers +190
Saturday, May 11
FC Cincinnati +120Draw +260Montreal Impact +210
FC Dallas +100Draw +260 New York Red Bulls +260
Toronto FC +100Draw +280Philadelphia Union +240
LA Galaxy +100Draw +280New York City FC +250
Columbus Crew +150Draw +270Los Angeles FC +260
New England -105Draw +280San Jose Earthquakes +250
Chicago Fire -120Draw +280Minnesota United +290
Colorado +105Draw +280Real Salt Lake +220
Sunday, May 12
Atlanta United -195Draw +370Orlando City +480

Visit FanDuel Sportsbook NJ as games near for updated odds and, for NJ residents, to place your wagers.

Odds and Ends

  • In our marquee match of the week, Atlanta United (-180) take on Toronto FC (+450) at home. We chose this match for a few reasons: 1) Atlanta had a fantastic upset versus Kansas City last week 2) Atlanta has yet to beat Toronto FC and 3) Barco will be missing from Atlanta’s line up as he is off with Argentina for the U20 World Cup. Pity Martinez, who is still without any assists or goals this season, will be leading the midfield for Atlanta against Toronto and their superstar transfer Pozuelo. The betting odds are in Atlanta’s favor but this match may prove to be more difficult than expected.
  • Also playing tonight, New York Red Bulls (-135) take on Montreal Impact (+380) and things seem to be looking up for NYRB. Last week, NYRB put a stop to LA Galaxy’s 7 game winning streak in a 3-2 thriller. Now, NYRB take on Montreal Impact (who are currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference) at home again. NYRB have done well at home…let’s see if they can continue the trend.
  • On Saturday, LA Galaxy (+100) will be back at home taking on New York City FC (+250) after their difficult loss to NYRB. This was their first loss in 8 games while New York City are coming off a 2-0 win in Montreal and have been unbeaten in the last 6 matches. In the last head to head match up between these two teams (March 11, 2019), New York City won at home 2-1.

MLS Matchday 10 Odds: Does Anybody Want To Win The Win The Eastern Conference?

Katya Gokhman May 1, 2019

MLS Matchday 10 odds are released. Starting off the week is Philadelphia vs FC Cincinnati this Wednesday night.

For this week, our marquee match-up is Saturday night’s D.C. United vs Columbus match. It’s a match of two Eastern Conference contenders (?) looking to get some traction back. You could make the argument that the four best teams in MLS this season are out West. No club is separating themselves in the East, and it seems like the teams are tripping over themselves to not climb atop the table. Maybe this week DC United, Montreal Impact, or even Philadelphia Union (!!!) throw down the gauntlet and announce that they’re “the team to beat.”

MLS Matchweek 10 Game Odds

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet MLS or how to bet soccer.

All listed odds from May 01 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Wednesday, May 1
Philadelphia -175Draw +300FC Cincinnati +500
Friday, May 3Draw +290DC United +430
Colorado +100Draw +270Vancouver Whitecaps +250
Saturday, May 4
New York Red Bulls +100Draw +270LA Galaxy +250
Houston Dynamo -120Draw +280FC Dallas +300
Orlando City +115Draw +260Toronto FC +210
Montreal Impact +120Draw +250New York City FC +210
Philadelphia -175Draw +300New England +490
D.C. United +100Draw +250Columbus +270
Minnesota United +110Draw +260Seattle Sounders +220
Real Salt Lake +115Draw +270Portland Timbers +210
San Jose Earthquakes -110Draw +280FC Cincinnati +270
Los Angeles FC -240Draw +390Chicago Fire +600
Sunday, May 5
Kansas City -105Draw +280Atlanta United +250

Visit FanDuel Sportsbook NJ as games near for updated odds and, for NJ residents, to place your wagers.

Odds and Ends

  • In our marquee match of the week, DC United (+100) take on Columbus Crew (+270) at home in DC. The betting odds indicate DC should cruise to victory, but is that really the case? Both teams are coming off a loss and their head-to-head record is fairly even. However, D.C. United did steal 3 points in their last head-to-head with Columbus in Ohio. On top of that, Columbus has been unable to beat DC in their last two away appearances, and have been generally poor on the road this campaign.
  • Can New York Red Bulls (+100) build momentum versus the LA Galaxy (+250)? While LA Galaxy are fighting for first place in the Western Conference with LAFC, NYRB are fighting to move up the standings to further themselves from the bottom. LA Galaxy is in good form, undefeated in their last seven games, and the Red Bulls, finally, have won again after going 5 matches without securing a W. This is a home game for the Red Bulls and, if it’s any consolation, in the last match up between the two teams (April 2018) -RBNY won 3-2 in LA.
  • Does Atlanta United (+250) need a win versus Kansas City (-105) for Frank de Boer to be safe? It has been quite a rollercoaster for Atlanta this year – going from winning it all last season to bottom of the Eastern Conference this year. It’s not looking too good for Frank but with two wins in the last three games (albeit against bottom-dwellers), maybe this is the turn around Frank and the boys need. Kansas City is playing at home and favored in this match, but they’ve been in poor form, having not won since their March 30th dismantling of Montreal.
  • Speaking of Montreal, they take on a modestly rising NYCFC. New York has climbed into playoff contention, and a road win against a top Eastern team would be another step towards respectability after a listless start.

Premier League Matchday 37 Betting Odds: The Fight For The Title Continues

Katya Gokhman April 30, 2019


Premier League
Matchday 37 really boils down to two season-defining match-ups (because let’s face it, we all just want to know who will win the title). All eyes will be onNewcastle vs Liverpool and Manchester City vs Leicester.

Matchday 37 Betting Lines Preview

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet soccer or Premier League betting.

All listed odds from April 29 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Friday, May 3rd


Everton -180Draw +310Burnley +500
Saturday, May 4th
Bournemouth +370Draw +300Tottenham -145
Wolves -230Draw +340Fulham +650
West Ham +130Draw +260Southampton +195
Cardiff +160
Draw +230Crystal Palace +170
Newcastle +750Draw +420Liverpool -310
Sunday, May 5th

Huddersfield +800Draw +440Manchester United -330
Chelsea -270Draw +390Watford +700
Arsenal -280Draw +400Brighton +700
Monday, May 6th
Manchester City -850Draw +700Leicester +1700

Odds & Ends

  • Our first marquee match-up of the week is Newcastle (+750) versus Liverpool (-310). Provided the betting odds, this may look like a quick and easy match for Liverpool. However, there is definitely room for a potential slip-up. Newcastle have not lost in their last 3 games, are playing at home, and are coached by ex-Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez – who may have something to prove after his time with Liverpool ended with them having the worst run in 22 years. With all this being said, Newcastle will be missing one of their key players this season, Miguel Almiron, due to a hamstring injury. Miggy, whose MLS transfer fee was the largest in history, helped power Newcastle top-half-of-the-league recent form. We’ve seen what his loss has done to Atlanta United. It’ll be tough for Newcastle to get past PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk without Almiron.
  • Speaking of teams in good recent form! Our next marquee match-up, Manchester City (-850) versus Leicester (+1700), isn’t until Monday, May 6th– but is definitely worth the wait. Leicester is viewed as a long-shot, but this won’t be as easy as we think for Manchester City. Leicester are coming off a good win against Arsenal AND, the only other teams with more points than Leicester over the last 5 games are (you guessed it) – Liverpool and Manchester City. Another interesting fact that may or may not play a role in motivating factors for Leicester is that Leicester is also coached by an ex-Liverpool coach, Brendan Rodgers (sacked by Liverpool in October 2015). Cosmically, there is a lot of either very good or very bad Liverpool juju going on this weekend (more about this on High Press Soccer later in the week).

Finally (again), after this week, we may have real clarity on who is winning the league.

MLS Matchday 9 Odds: Seattle Sounders vs LAFC Again Highlight Week’s Games

Katya Gokhman April 24, 2019

MLS Matchday 9 odds are released, including a large slate of Wednesday night games.

Headlining those games tonight is Columbus Crew vs DC United.

For the weekend, our marquee match up is another showdown between the Seattle Sounders vs Los Angeles FC.

MLS Matchweek 9 Game Odds

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet MLS or how to bet soccer. All listed odds from April 24 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Wednesday, April 24
New York City -165Draw +310Chicago Fire +420
Columbus Crew -155Draw +290DC United +430
New England Revolution -110Draw +260Montreal Impact +280
Minnesota United +105Draw +280LA Galaxy +220
Seattle Sounders -270Draw +410San Jose +700
Saturday , April 27
New York City FC -170Draw +310Orlando City SC +440
Toronto FC -195Draw +350Portland Timbers +490
FC Dallas -230Draw +380San Jose +600
Vancouver +160Draw +240Philadelphia +165
Atlanta United -270Draw +410Colorado Rapids +650
New York Red Bulls -200Draw +350FC Cincinnati +500
Houston Dynamo -115Draw +280Columbus Crew +280
Sporting KC -290Draw +350New England +550
Sunday, April 28
Montreal Impact -115Draw +270Chicago Fire +300
Minnesota United +105Draw +270DC United +230
Seattle Sounders +115Draw +270Los Angeles FC +210
LA Galaxy -210Draw +360Real Salt Lake +500

Odds and Ends

  • In our highlight match for tonight, Columbus Crew (-155) vs DC United (+430), both teams are coming off of losses. Although DC United is sitting in 1st place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points at the moment, Columbus is right on their tail (along with two other teams) with 13 points. This is a home game for Columbus and, although Columbus has not beaten DC since last March, they have won the last two home games against DC.
  • Seattle Sounders (-270) vs San Jose (at a whopping +700!) should be more interesting than we think. As the Sounders come home after a tough 4-1 loss away to LAFC, San Jose will be coming in hot after a surprising 4-1 win against Kansas City. Could this be the push San Jose needs to upgrade their spot in the standings? Guess we’ll see tonight…
  • Minnesota United (+105) vs LA Galaxy (+220) should be another interesting match up as Minnesota try to get their very first win against LA Galaxy AND their very first win at the Allianz Stadium. A double whammy! Although, it won’t exactly be easy as LA Galaxy is coming in with a five game winning streak with their most recent win being over the unbeaten (not anymore) Houston Dynamo.
  • Lastly, in our highlight match of the weekend Sounders (+115) vs LAFC (+210), we ask – “Can LAFC continue their Western Conference dominance?” Last Sunday, LAFC destroyed Seattle 4-1 in LA. This time around, Seattle either get to redeem themselves or lose once again to LAFC but in front of a home crowd. The odds seem to be slightly in Seattle’s favor but not by much.

Premier League Matchday 36 Betting Odds

Katya Gokhman April 23, 2019

Premier League Matchday 36 consists of battles to win or survive…or both. This is our theme of the week.

While technically not a Matchday 36 fixture, the marquee match-up is 100% Manchester City vs Manchester United on Wednesday. Nothing else comes close. The league title (City) and Champions League qualification (United) hang on the result of this game.

Matchday 36 Betting Lines Preview

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet soccer or Premier League betting.

All listed odds from April 22 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Tuesday, April 23rd
(Make-up matches)
Tottenham -370Draw +470Brighton +950
Watford +115Draw +240Southampton +240
Wednesday, April 24th(Make-up matches)
Wolves +185Draw +240Arsenal +145
Man. United +550Draw +390Man. City -230
Friday, April 26th
(Start of Matchday 36)
Liverpool -1500Draw +1100Huddersfield +3200
Saturday, April 27th
Tottenham -250Draw +400West Ham +600
Southampton +105Draw +250Bournemouth +250
Fulham +140Draw +250Cardiff +185
Crystal Palace +170Draw +230Everton +160
Watford +145Draw +220Wolves +195
Brighton +115Draw +210Newcastle +270
Sunday, April 28th
Leicester +175Draw +270Arsenal +140
Burnley +1400Draw +700Man. City -700
Man. United +165Draw +240Chelsea +160

Odds & Ends

  • Our marquee match up, Manchester United (+550) versus Manchester City (-230) is not just a classic derby this year. Both sides have something to lose and gain in this match. With a win, Man City can keep control on retaining the league title while Man U, if they win, can further their chances of finishing in the top four. Not only can both teams guarantee their own fate with a win, they can also ruin the other team’s season.
  • This brings us to the Liverpool (-1500) match up versus Huddersfield (+3200). Liverpool, arguably, have an easier path to winning the league when looking at the remainder of their opponents in comparison to Man City. And, if Man City loses or draws to Man United, Liverpool will have the upper hand in the race to be 1st in the league. It’s crucial that Liverpool continue the winning streak they have maintained since early March.
  • As the battles continue, Arsenal’s quest to secure a top four finish is in danger as they travel away to take on Wolves. Chelsea, who have now taken the 4th spot after a tie to Burnley on Monday, are 1 point ahead of Arsenal. With this being said, Arsenal must win against Wolves. This won’t be the easiest run-in considering Wolves have the best record in the league when it comes to playing the top 6 teams…
  • The relegation battle between Brighton and Cardiff also continues. Currently, Brighton is 3 points ahead of Cardiff. So, as the trend seems to be, winning is crucial for both sides. In the match Fulham (+140) vs Cardiff (+185), Fulham has already, technically, been relegated. However, they are playing at home and have nothing to lose — so why not ruin someone else’s chances at staying in the league and bring them down with them? On the other side, Brighton have to face Spurs on Tuesday (a match they are not expected to win…) and then face Newcastle at home. Granted, they will be at home against Newcastle so they do have the advantage, however, Newcastle are fresh off 2 wins. With this being said, moving forward past this match, Brighton still need to face Arsenal (who are fighting for a top 4 finish) and Man City (who are fighting for the league title) while Cardiff still need to face Man United (who are fighting for a top 4 finish).

Finally, after this week, we may have real clarity on who is winning the league, securing a UCL spot, and spending 2019-20 in the Championship.

MLS Matchday 7 Betting Lines

Katya Gokhman April 10, 2019
MLS Matchday 7 lines are out. The marquee match-up (in terms of two blue-chip franchises looking to get some momentum going) is Western Conference Sporting KC against Eastern Conference reigning Supports Shield holder New York Red Bulls.

MLS Matchweek 7 Game Odds

As always, home team is listed first. If you need a refresher, visit how to bet MLS or how to bet soccer. All listed odds from April 10 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.
Wednesday, April 10
Colorado Rapids +194 Draw +240 Seattle Sounders +140
Friday, April 12
Chicago Fire -145 Draw +320 Vancouver Whitecaps +350
Saturday, April 13
Montreal Impact +115 Draw +250 Columbus Crew +220
Houston Dynamo -180 Draw +350 San Jose Earthquakes +440
Seattle Sounders -120 Draw +270 Toronto FC +320
Minnesota United -115 Draw +280 New York City FC +280
New England Revolution +145 Draw +240 Atlanta United +180
FC Dallas -155 Draw +310 Portland Timbers +390
Colorado Rapids +185 Draw +250 D.C. United +140
Real Salt Lake -115 Draw +280 Orlando City +280
Los Angeles FC -270 Draw +410 FC Cincinnati +650
LA Galaxy -105 Draw +280 Philadelphia Union +250
Sunday, April 14
Sporting KC +100 Draw +270 New York Red Bulls +250

Odds and Ends

  • In our marquee match-up, Sporting KC (+100) vs New York Red Bulls (+250) battle it out in Sporting’s backyard.  Looking at both teams the past weekend, Sporting is coming off a tie away against FC Cincinnati (not to mention their tough loss in CCL) while the Red Bulls come off a loss at home to Minnesota United where the Red Bulls were seen to be struggling.  In fact, the Red Bulls have only picked up 4 points in their last 5 matches.  Pretty tragic so far.  BUT, can anyone remember 2016 when Red Bulls were 1-and-6 and then ended up winning the Eastern Conference?  We wouldn’t count them out just yet.  Both teams need the points — for morale and conference standings.
  • The match of the weekend in terms of current conference standing goes to Seattle Sounders (-120) vs Toronto FC (+320). With Sounders coming off a win at home while Toronto FC struggled for a tie at home last weekend against Chicago Fire, who currently sit at the bottom half of the table of the Eastern Conference, it’s easy to see why Sounders are the favorites.  With all this being said, both teams sit in one of the top 3 spots in their conference…if I were Toronto, I’d be a bit offended by the value they were given.  Toronto at +320 deserves a longer look.
  • A value play worth taking a look at is Minnesota FC (-115) vs New York City FC (+280).  Currently, Minnesota have accumulated the most away points (9 points) out of any MLS team in 2019.  On top of that, they are about to play in their new home stadium for the very first time.  Meanwhile, New York City FC are sitting second to last in the Eastern Conference which makes sense considering they’re currently without a win in their first 5 matches and can’t seem to score (statistics show that they’re averaging LESS than a goal per game).  With all this being said, a value favorite is Minnesota FC.
  • Another match to look out for is Atlanta United (+180) vs New England Revolution (+145).  Both teams are sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  It’s still quite early to make a judgement call based on standings but, needless to say, both teams need a win.  ATL UTD are returning fresh after a weekend off while New England are returning home after coming off a loss away at Columbus Crew.

The USWNT Gender Discrimination Law Suit: Looking at Both Sides of the Coin (Sort Of)

Katya Gokhman March 12, 2019

Making major headlines this week, the U.S. Women’s National Team  (USWNT) has filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for gender discrimination. The suit argues that the USSF has refused to treat the USWNT equally with their male counterparts.

How much of this is true? As with most things, the truth sits somewhere in the middle.

Seeing Both Sides of a Complicated Issue

There has been an abundance of articles and deliberation on this suit. Many good points have been made from both sides. However, I wanted to provide a perspective from a female professional soccer player who does NOT play on the USWNT. In fact, I played for the sworn enemy – the Russian Women’s National team.

It provides me a unique perspective on the topic.

First, let’s try to be open minded and take a look at USSF’s perspective as to why they are NOT offering the same salaries or treatment (such as travel and accommodations) as they give the men.

FACT: The USWNT is getting paid significantly less by USSF.

ALSO A FACT: They do, as USSF mentioned, get benefits and security that the men do not.

ADDITIONALLY: The USSF single-handedly support the USWNT salaries in the NWSL pro-league while other players who do not play on the national team struggle for the scraps thrown at them by the clubs themselves. In essence, the USSF is not just paying for the players to play on the National team but they are also paying their club salaries as well, which is unheard of in the male soccer sphere in any country.

So yes, the pay structure is completely different for the women when compared to the men’s structure and, from that perspective, maybe it is a bit unfair to jump on USSF so aggressively and accuse them of gender discrimination.

And Issue of Equal Treatment, Not Just Pay

However, this is exactly why the Women’s National team is asking for “equitable” pay NOT necessarily “equal” pay. They know the structure is different and they’re not asking to be paid the exact same wages as their counterparts – they are asking to be paid FAIRLY and treated FAIRLY.

For example, the USMNT flies first or business class when traveling to international tournaments – the women fly in coach. An even more significant example, which was a big issue in the last women’s World Cup in Canada, is the fact that while the men always compete on grass fields in tournaments, the women compete on turf fields (aka fake grass). This may not seem like such a big deal but the amount of strain that turf causes on a player’s body versus grass is significant. Not only that, but the pace of the ball is completely different on turf compared to grass.

As a female who played professionally for the past 7 years, I can tell you plenty of ridiculous stories about the difference in treatment and pay between the women’s team and men’s team in the clubs I played for – surprisingly, some of the more outrageous things happening in one of the bigger and more well known European clubs. So from this perspective, I can tell you that many times the effort that we as females have to put in to be professional players is much more than our counterparts.  And I say this from all aspects – physical, mental, and, of course, financial.  Believe me when I say that almost all of us don’t play for the money.

A personal example was my past year with Anderlecht Dames, which is the professional female team of Belgian powerhouse Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht. RSC Anderlecht has a beautiful training facility that includes (aside from the fields) a gym, cafeteria, pool, rehab center, and player lounge. Oh and they’re sponsored by Audi, which meant almost every employee of the club got an Audi. Can anyone take a guess as to what the Women’s team was able to use and get? Let me just say one word – “nada.” That’s right, the 2017/2018 Belgian Women’s Super League champions were not allowed to use any of the facilities except one turf practice field and were DEFINITELY not given an Audi or any form of transportation.

That’s right, your girl right here was an avid user of the subway and bus system.

Did we get anything, you ask? We got a membership to a gym that was equivalent to an Anytime Fitness (except this one wasn’t even 24 hours, can you believe it?). What’s the irony in this? The club was willing to spend money to direct us to another gym rather than let us use the one they already had for free. But ok, fine, what about the Women’s Belgian National team? Well, sure, they’re definitely not treated badly. But let us, again, make an “equitable” comparison to the male counterparts. Samsung, one of the sponsors of the Belgian National team, gave out Samsung Galaxies to all the Belgian Men’s National team players last year. The women’s team, on the other hand, did not get any phones or accessories. But they did get something – a grocery store discount card by a grocery store that sponsored them (how fitting since…we’re females).

An Issue Across All Female Professional Sports

This is just the tip of the iceberg and I can go on with experiences that would make your jaw drop. And so, this battle that the USWNT is pursuing is a battle that all female soccer players (and female athletes) have to face. I can’t help but root for the USWNT and all they’re doing.  But looking back at my own personal experiences – if the USWNT get this win, that’s great! BUT…where does that leave the other 98% of female professional players that are not on the USWNT? Just looking at women’s soccer in the U.S. as a whole – getting to the national team (or an elite youth team) can be as much about politics as it is talent. I only say that because we have SO MUCH talent in the U.S.

When you are competing at that level, it’s not necessarily how good you are but who pushes you through.  I am not saying that is always the case but I have seen this happen way too many times.  And, of course, that’s true in any sport, male or female.  The difference, however, is that males who do not make the national team are still earning significantly higher salaries and still being treated significantly better than females in the same situation.

This is obviously a very complex problem. It extends past the playing field, but into the workforce too, where over-qualified women are also often underpaid and mistreated in many situations. This is not just a fight for female soccer players but a fight for all females. It’s a small step in a big fight and small steps do not always show the big picture right away. However, just like artists that use the technique of pointillism exemplify, when you congregate enough small dots – a bigger picture emerges. Just this past week on International Women’s day, Adidas announced that they would be giving equal performance bonus payouts to their Adidas male and female athletes on the winning World Cup teams. Kudos to Adidas for adding another small dot to the picture. Let’s hope others do the same.

 

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