The United States Women’s National Team won the 2019 World Cup and immediately returned from France with a trophy and the audience for their demands of equal pay.
Whenever a female athlete wants more money, trolls manifest out of thin air to dunk on them for no reason.
I won’t get into the financials but we should all recognize that it’s both possible for these women to make more and very difficult to execute.
Here’s a quick solution to the equal pay problem: watch the National Women’s Soccer League. No one will talk shit about the low revenue numbers of the women’s game if we all, ya know, increase those revenue numbers.
The National Women’s Soccer League is a super new league established only in 2012 so no one really knows much about these teams or which national team stars play for which city. Let’s change that.
Let’s start with a look at the current standings. There are 26 games in the NWSL season and we’re about at the halfway point in the year.
- Seattle Reign 5-5-1
- North Carolina Courage 5-4-2
- Portland Thorns FC 5-4-2
- Washington Spirit 5-3-3
- Utah Royals 5-2-3
- Chicago Red Stars 4-2-5
- Houston Dash 3-4-4
- Orlando Pride 2-2-8
- Sky Blue 1-2-7
The top 4 teams make the postseason. The bottom 5…do not. Simple.
The NWSL just signed a deal with ESPN to air the remainder of their season so let’s break this league down team-by-team.
Also, where were these games airing prior to ESPN? Have you watched ESPN in the summer at like 3pm? It’s mostly cornhole championships and dart competitions. Yea, play fucking women’s soccer instead of axe throwing or disco bowling or whatever.
Stars: Megan Rapinoe, Jessica Fishlock
Seattle is in first place and Megan Rapinoe hasn’t even dressed for them yet. Wait til Rapinoe nurses her week-long hangover, finishes boxing Piers Morgan and returns to the field. Lock this team up for the playoffs.
Jess Fishlock is a 32-year midfielder who is leading the team in goals. Unfortunately, she’s out until JANUARY after suffering a knee injury just last week.
North Carolina Courage
Stars: Crystal Dunn, Debinha, Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis, Kristen Hamilton
The Courage are leading the league with 24 goals scored as they are absolutely stacked up front and play an aggressive (sloppy) style that actually makes soccer fun to watch.
Kristen Hamilton is leading this team with 7 goals. It’s truly remarkable how much depth the USWNT has at the forward position that Hamilton can’t even sniff the roster.
Also, quick shout out to Debinha out of Brazil. International players in their prime want to come play in the NWSL. That’s huge.
Portland Thorns FC
Stars: Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Midge Purce, Christine Sinclair
I don’t love this team name but they dwarf the rest of the league in attendance so uh yea, go Thorns!
Lindsey Horan is the best midfielder in the country. USWNT coach, Jill Ellis, may have sat her on the bench for a majority of the World Cup but Portland would be fools to not have Horan out there as much as possible.
I’d be remiss to not mention Christine Sinclair, the greatest female soccer player of all time.
Stars: Rose Lavelle, Mallory Pugh, Chloe Logarzo, Ashley Hatch
Earlier this week I wrote that Rose LaVelle is about to become the new face of US Soccer and I still believe that. With that comes honing her skills in Washington and there aren’t many midfielders in the world better with the ball at their feet than LaVelle.
Also worth pointing out that Chloe Logarzo just scored a goal for Australia against Japan like, two weeks in the first round of the World Cup. Washington will be in the playoffs.
Utah Royals FC
Stars: Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, Kelley O’Hara, Amy Rodriguez, Vero Boquete
I feel a type of way about Becky Sauerbrunn so I won’t rave about her as much as I’d like to.
Instead, let’s talk about Amy Rodriguez, who was kept off the USA roster after suffering a knee injury in 2018, and who is without a doubt that best American soccer player not on that World Cup roster. Chip, meet shoulder.
Vero Boquete is a star Spanish midfielder who rallied against a coach that was absolute trash and she was COINCIDENTALLY removed from the team roster and never brought back. These women are gladiators yet continue to get shit on. Support this league, yo.
Chicago Red Stars
Stars: Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, Sam Kerr
Full disclosure, Sam Kerr is my favorite soccer player so I’m riding with the Red Stars til I die.
She is the best finisher in the box. She’s the reigning MVP and probably deserved to be the first female Ballon d’Or winner, no disrespect to Ada Hegerberg. The Australian superstar got eliminated from the World Cup only to immediately return to Chicago and score a goal in her first game back.
Outside of Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz is the most recognizable star on the USWNT and Alyssa Naeher just put her stamp on the game with a big penalty kick save against England in the semifinals.
Sam Kerr has the most goals in NWSL history. She’s 25. Chicago in 4.
Stars: Jane Campbell, Sofia Huerta, Rachel Daly
England is one of the best teams in the world which makes Rachel Daly one of the best defenders on the planet. That’s just simple math. She now rejoins the Dash after a disappointing 4th place trophy ready to finish her year strong.
The problem with Houston is that they didn’t lose any players to the World Cup outside of Daly and they still managed to only get 3 victories on the season. Every team had their best stars playing in France and their backups were beating Houston’s ass.
Stars: Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Marta, Alanna Kennedy, Ali Krieger
On paper, this team is unbelievably stacked full of the best players in the world at every position level. Anddd they’re in 8th place right now. And if you’re thinking to yourself ‘well their stars were playing in the World Cup’ then I have bad news. They finished in 7th place last season with all of their players present.
Marta and Alex Morgan combined to score 8 goals last year. For comparison sake, my girl Sam Kerr scored 16. On her own.
I don’t really suspect Orlando to suddenly figure it out. Alex Morgan is drunk as hell right now not returning any of her Pride teammates calls.
Sky Blue FC
Stars: Carli Lloyd, Raquel Rodríguez, Nahomi Kawasumi
Sky Blue FC has the best name in the league and it’s not even close. Whenever you have to actually look up what city the team plays in, you know you picked some rare fire.
That being said, they have one win this season and are easily the worst team in the league. That’s karma. This is what happens after you name a team Sky Blue when they play off the New Jersey Turnpike where the sky is brown.
They also don’t have a head coach right now after firing Denise Reddy who had a Hall of Fame worthy 1-8-24 record.
You have no reason not to watch the National Women’s Soccer League.
If you want to support these women, give their your time and attention. If you’re a tiny-testicled little loser like Ben Shapiro who wants these women to shut up about equal pay then watch them play and help them get what they want so you won’t have to hear about it anymore.