By Zac Cornell
The Players Association for the National Women’s Soccer League has signed the league’s first ever collective bargaining agreement, which will remain for five years. The new agreement includes a raise for all players, with the new minimum salary at $35,000 from last year’s $22,000. It also calls for yearly raises of 4%, increased retirement fund contributions, better life and health insurance including eight weeks of parental leave, new safety and security measures, and free housing. The labor agreement was signed just in time for players to report to preseason camps, averting any walkouts.
“From our inception, the players association has put players first. Our mission in this historic CBA was to put this same philosophy at the center of NWSL’s future,” NWSLPA president Tori Huster said in a statement. “With the amount of care and attention that we have given this process since fall 2020, we are proud that players can confidently enter the 10th season in the NWSL in a better position than ever before.”
Improvements in medical care were an important aspect of the CBA. The NWSL press release announced that the league will hire a medical director and that each team will be required to have at least “a team physician, massage therapist, sports scientist, sports psychologist, and team clinician to provide mental health services.”
The new agreement establishes that free agency will begin in the 2023 season for players that have been in the league for at least six years. In 2024, players with a minimum of five years will be eligible, as well as restricted free agency for players with three years of play. The CBA also provides for sharing of network broadcast revenues with players if the league is profitable in the third, fourth or fifth year.
New Record-Breaking Contract
In more noteworthy women’s soccer news, 19 year-old Rookie of the Year and U.S. Young Female Player of the Year, Trinity Rodman, has signed the largest contract in league history with the Washington Spirit, a four year deal for more than $1.1 million. The new deal is six times more than her original contract, after being selected second in the 2021 NWSL draft. Rodman, daughter of NBA Hall of Fame player Dennis Rodman, was 18 when she signed with the Spirit and the youngest woman ever drafted into the league.