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Georgia women to play in the FIFA Women's World Cup

Georgia plays a large part in the development U.S. soccer. While 3 Georgia women get ready to play in the World Cup, they handle the wage gap lawsuit.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup in France gets started this Friday June 7. Team USA plans to repeat their success from the 2015 World Cup in Canada where they defeated Japan in a dominant fashion, 5-2.

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) is one of the most successful international teams in men’s or women’s soccer. The U.S. women’s team has won four gold medals since women’s soccer was added in the Olympics in the 1996 games here in Atlanta.

According to  United States Soccer Development Academy, Georgia is one of the biggest developmental hubs in the country for the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Having a few top programs in the nation; United Futbol Academy that has multiple locations in Georgia and Tophat Soccer Club. The United Sates Soccer Development Academy works with these two programs very closely.

Georgia will also be very well represented in the 2019 FIFA women’s World Cup. Three women on the national team will appear on the U.S. World Cup team. Emily Sonnett from Marietta is a defender for the Portland Thrones FC. Sonnett is a new edition to the team and will appear in her first world cup match on Friday. Kelly O’Hara from Fayettevile, another defender for the Utah Royals FC, is a valued vet on the team and will be playing in her third World Cup. Morgan Brian is a Midfielder for the Chicago Red Stars. She was born in ST. Simons Island, was the youngest member of the 2015 world cup team and sparks a fire for the USWNT’s attack. In an interview with USWST Sonnett said that playing in Georgia is some of the best competition she has faced in her short career.

Credit: ussoccer.com
(Left to right) Morgan Brian, Emily Sonnett, Kelly O'Hara

The U.S. women’s team has been more successful than the men’s U.S. team who didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia or the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Even with the recent struggles of the men’s team, the women’s’ team has still taken a backseat when it comes to the soccer scene in the United States.

Recently a large topic in the political spectrum is the gender wage gap. Both political parties agree equal pay is a key factor in Americas economy. Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue has said he supported fair pay in 2017. A talking point read on his website, "with record low employment rates, America can not afford to under pay women."

Democrat Stacy Abrams’ closely agrees with Perdue. She focused on equal pay as a staple for her economic plan in 2018, but studies show that women are still being underpaid. According to a 2017 study by Institute for Women’s Policy Research, full-time year-round workers who are women made 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of about 20 percent.

This conversation is something that the USSF is familiar with. In March of 2019 the USWNT sued the USSF. The lawsuit alleges the women’s team earns just 38 percent of the of pay per game compared to the men’s close to 50/50 split. This despite the fact that the U.S. women’s soccer team has generated more profits and revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation and has had a larger viewing audience and played more games than the men’s team in the past 20 years, according to The Atlantic.

The Atlantic also reports the women could earn $4,950 for a non-tournament match while the men earned $13,166 for the same thing. That's almost $8,000 less for the better team.

Since the lawsuit was filed, there has allegedly been a rework in salary for the women but those numbers are not public according to NBC Sports.

The lawsuit also expressed concern when it came to advertisement of each team. For example, not announcing women’s events and games early enough for consistent ticket sales and viewership, The Atlantic reports.

President of the USSF Carlos Cordeiro released a public letter on March 15th, 2019 stating that he agreed with equal pay for equal work but did not address the lawsuit directly, reports NBC Sports.