women's soccer exits plane

Members of the United States women's soccer team, winners of a fourth Women's World Cup, celebrate and pose with the trophy by their plane after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Newark, N.J. Julie Ertz holds the trophy, Megan Rapinoe, front right, gestures, and Alex Morgan, back left, also gestures. 

The U.S. Women's National Team — which, I believe, plays soccer — arrived home Monday, stumbling off the charter flight like they'd just returned from a month-long bachelorette party. The triumphant, bottle-waving deplaning looked like the chick-flick answer to Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in the final scene from the "Stripes" movie.

It was double terrific.

These women not only can play soccer, they know how to flaunt it and they know how to party.

Can't wait to see the ticker tape parade from New York today.

They deserve to be celebrated whether they go to the White House or not.

One last toast.

USA! USA! USA!

And take a deep breath ...

Now pay them already.

Equal PAY! Equal PAY! Equal PAY!

That, apparently, was the subplot running through their destruction of Europe the last month to win the World Cup.

They get paid less than the USA men's team.

This shocked me.

And it's not necessarily that the women's team was receiving less pay — ­ far less — than the men's.

It shocked me to learn that we had a men's team.

OK, that's not quite true.

Not sure why we have a men's team, but we do.

And if we do — forget equal pay — the men need to be paid far less.

This isn't like when the WNBA players, perhaps forgetting that they left Title IX behind in college, suddenly decide they deserve to be paid as much as their NBA counterparts.

Maybe those demands are only to remind America that there is, in fact, a women's pro basketball league in the country, one that most of the populace for many years has been exercising their Constitutional right to ignore.

This is the real world.

Welcome to the free market, capitalism at work, where you're worth whatever somebody is willing to pay you so they can make a buck themselves.

The U.S. Soccer federation, which stands guard over both the men's and women's teams, hasn't quite gotten there yet.

The men are siphoning money out of the pot that ought to be going to the women.

A story on Yahoo.com said that the women's base pay is $99,000 for the season. The men get $263,320.

Really?

By all appearances the women will need more than that just to pay the bar tab for that charter flight.

One of the arguments is that, once you take the World Cup into consideration, the men's side of things generates far more money.

No doubt.

But we're talking about the American Team.

I've never tried to hide that I'm not much for soccer.

But we need this women's team, if for nothing else to almost make soccer watchable.

The women's team helps us forget that we, as a country, also have a men's team (of a sort) whether we want one or not.

The women are not only a lot more competitive on the world's biggest stage, they're also a lot more fun — entertaining, which is what this is really all about.

There's some real characters in that bunch.

While the women's team is over-celebrating double-digit leads and tea-sip taunting our British allies en route to kicking butt for the gold, the overpaid men are usually whining and flopping left and right, all the while losing to Ghana or somesuch and not even making the World Cup field.

The women?

There's an entertaining edge to them, which isn't easy in a sport that was designed to bore you to tiddlywinks.

They're good and they know it and they don't mind letting everybody else know about it. The USA men are awful and often an embarrassment and so it must be somebody else's fault.

In short, the women look like they're having fun, all the way from the meaningless exhibitions to the ticker tape parade.

It works. They made the country take notice.

They made America schedule "watch parties" for soccer, which might happen for the men if they ever make it into the World Cup again.

Instead, you hear that it's not a fair comparison because the men aren't in the World Cup — yet most of the money generated worldwide, including the USA's cut, comes from the men's World Cup.

So what? The U.S. men had nothing to do with it. What? The men want a participation check now?

A Wall Street Journal report said that in the U.S., women's soccer has generated more money than the men since 2016.

TV ratings in the U.S. have outdone the men since 2015.

That's eye balls on TVs, that's ratings, that's money in the bank.

Put it in the women's pockets.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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