‘We’re not scared’: Alex Morgan threatens US women’s soccer strike – New York Post

Alex Morgan recently joined her new club team in France, simultaneously challenging herself against Europe’s best and dodging another year in the undesirable National Women’s Soccer League, but she assured on Monday her heart remains with American soccer.

In an in-depth interview with The Guardian on US women’s soccer’s ongoing struggle for equal pay and rights, the star forward revealed how frustrating it has been to see her and her teammates’ effort to effect change fall short of tangible results.

“It’s great to see women standing up in their own line of work and fighting for fair value,” she said. “We’re trying to do the same thing and we’ve come a long way. But it gets exhausting having to do this every day, every week. Our male counterparts have not had to fight as much – so sometimes you feel a little exhausted always having to prove yourself and show your worth.”

Morgan, who announced in December her decision to sign a six-year deal with France’s elite Olympique Lyonnais after five years starring in America’s professional soccer league, appears determined to take more than her individual game to the next level. The 27-year-old suggested she and her national teammates could go on strike if US Soccer won’t meet their demands.

“It’s necessary for change sometimes. It wouldn’t be the first time women decided to strike,” she said. “Colombia and a couple of other countries might do the same. And Australia didn’t play us a year ago because of the same battle. We were supposed to play them in a few weeks and they decided not to get on the flight because they weren’t getting paid what they were worth – or anywhere close.


Alex Morgan holds up her jersey during an introductory press conference with Lyon on Jan. 7.AP

“To force a change sometimes you need to stand up. You know what you’re worth — rather than what your employer is paying you. We’re not scared. To move the women’s game ahead we need to do what’s necessary. I feel other national teams are looking at us for that guidance.”

Morgan and her teammates have been open about their disputes with US Soccer over the years, which have gone beyond the collective bargaining agreement that ended last month and the shocking departure of the players’ lawyer, Rich Nichols, whom Hope Solo pushed the team to hire two years ago.

The women filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in 2015 to move World Cup games in Canada from artificial turf to grass, a rejection Morgan saw as a larger gender-bias problem festering in soccer’s governing body.

“We took it very personally because it was an insult,” she said. “They had never done that for the men — and they never would. The men wouldn’t stand for it. We tried to take a stand and we brought in lawyers and tried to bring it to court in Canada. Lots of players were involved internationally. But it was too late to change anything.”

Morgan added: “I understand there’s much more money in the men’s game. But FIFA spent so much time on the men they now need to focus a little more on us. I would like to close that gap even if I’m not expecting it to be equal. I’m not expecting there to be a huge jump and the win bonus to be $35 million when, for the women, it’s $2 million. I don’t think the entire world respects women in sport. But if FIFA start respecting the women’s game more, others will follow.”

As talks continue between US Soccer and the players, Morgan hopes their voices will be heard — leaving the NWSL, along with breakout forward Crystal Dunn, was a start — but remains doubtful of a compromise, already looking to the next international tournament as an opportunity to take a stand.

“The fight is about receiving equitable treatment, not just pay,” Morgan said. “Our CBA ended last month so right now we’re locked with the status quo. Neither US Soccer nor us have submitted anything that says they’ll lock us out or that we will strike. We’re hoping to reach agreement, but there eventually needs to be pressure from one side to meet in the middle.

“We don’t have a World Cup or Olympics to use as leverage while we negotiate a new contract. But we have an important tournament coming up [in March]. The SheBelieves Cup brings France, England and Germany to the US. Before we play those matches we want to get a deal done so we can move on.”

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