Women’s Soccer Leagues Around The World: Good or Bad


Brittany Collas, Sports Writer

The 2020 season of the National Women’s Soccer League (American League) was canceled due to COVID-19. So they made a small one month Challenge Cup, but a few players went to the Women’s Super League (English League). Some of the United States Women National Team players moved over to the WSL just because of how England was dealing with COVID-19. Some players think if they don’t play for the NWSL then they will not be noticed, but USWNT Coach Andonovski says “ Every player that is European-based, if they are healthy and performing well, they’re going to be in our plans and will be called for upcoming camps.”

The Spanish League for women was not certified as professional until the 2021-2022 season. La Liga Femenina was founded in 1988 and is the top league for women’s soccer in Spain and is composed of 18 teams. Irene Lozano, the president of Spain’s Sports Council has said that the government is ready to “put an end to this injustice.” “It cannot be that men’s football is professional, and yet women’s football is considered non-professional.” In 2015 clubs united to create the Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs (ACFF) to propel and professionalize women’s soccer in Spain.

Now Serie A Femminile is not considered a professional sports league in Italy. Beginning of the 2022-2023 season, Serie A Femminile will gain Professional status, becoming Italy’s first professional league for women’s soccer. The women’s soccer movement began gaining momentum in Italy in 2015. As non-professional athletes, Serie A Femminile players are currently not considered employees of their club.

Two days after Taliban fighters seized Herat, the Italian journalist Stefano Liberti received a message from Susan the former captain of Bastan: A women’s soccer team that he and a colleague had made a documentary saying, “Hi sir, we are in trouble. Can you help us?” Thirteen days after she made contact with Mr.Liberti, Susan arrived in Italy along with two of her teammates, their coach, and several family members. Susan halted her university studies in English literature to leave the country with her parents, two sisters and a brother. Women were banned from sports during the first Taliban era. Another Herat player, Fetema, also left behind her university studies, in Public Administration and Policy. “Playing football makes me feel powerful and an example for other girls, to show that you can do anything you want to do.” Fetema said. The players say that many of their Herat teammates are still in Kabul, hoping to find transit to Australia, where some players on Afghanistan’s women national team have been evacuated.

Imagine waking up at 3 A.M to handle an early shift, or working a 10-hour shift on your feet packing Amazons boxes before heading to coach a group of young girls, or cleaning homes for extra cash, mopping floors, and teaching a 6 A.M high intensity interval training class. These are just a few of the side hustles that professional soccer players in the NWSL have picked to make ends meet. They hope to make an end to it. Many players in the NWSL are working two, three or even four jobs at a time. All while juggling the physical and mental demands that come with being a pro athlete. This comes at a time when the players association has been negotiating with the league since its founding in 2012. “NWSLPA will not wait another decade to achieve fair contracts, equal pay, and professional playing conditions,” The association said. In 2020 there was a 493% year-over-year jump in TV viewership for the league. The league’s minimum annual salary is $22,000, the maximum is $52,500. 75% of the league’s players make $31,000 or lower. The average male player in Major League Soccer earned $398,725 in the 2021 season. The MLSPA aired their support for the NWSL by saying “ All professional athletes should be able to fully focus on playing without having to worry about making ends meet.” As much as this fight is about making a livable wage for players in the NWSL, the players have said it’s about a bigger picture.