NWSL CBA Negotions

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and the players association have been working on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for almost a year now. There have reportedly been 35 negotiation sessions since the process began in April 2021. Those meetings have been good, but no deal has been struck and signed yet. The general framework for the deal is in place. There are, however, a few topics on which the two sides cannot agree.

Hurdles to a CBA

A banner reading #protectnwsplayers being held during a match. "pictured here"
Photo by Max Aquino, Sounder at Heart

There are several major issues separating the two parties. A crucial area the sides have not agreed upon is the handling of free agency. The players want to know the rules regarding that process and when it will go into effect. This seems relatively minor to me, but it is never easy to get anything done this close to a deadline.

Another factor slowing this process down occurred in October of 2021. North Carolina Courage fired their manager Paul Riley after reports of sexual coercion and bullying of his players. Former Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke was banned from the league for being found guilty of verbal and emotional abuse as well according to the same article.

A big reason for all of this was forward Alex Morgan. She openly criticized Riley and Burke for their actions, but also called out the NWSL. Morgan posted a series of tweets showing emails of how former commissioner Lisa Baird sent after failing to reopen an investigation into Riley. Baird and then general counsel Lisa Levine resigned shortly after all of this occurred.

What It Wll Take to Get the CBA Signed

The two sides are at what seems like an impasse. Neither is willing to bend and is trying to fight for their own best interests. Fortunately, the parties were given a few extra months to accomplish this. The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has been butting heads with almost every governing body in the sport over the past couple of years. The USWNT sued the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) over equal pay. The day the USWNT filed for an appeal to that case USSF and the NWSL decided to extend the deadline for a new CBA through March 2022.

That date is just over two months away, but the players do not care. The athletes have threatened to not report to team camps if no CBA is in place by the start of February. That means that if the NWSL would like its season to start on time, a deal would need to be in place before the end of January.

If I were the NWSL, I would fight for all that I can but concede on the final day. The league is already fighting a public relations battle and does not want to add fuel to that fire. Players such as Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have large social media followings. Those two have a history of not mincing words when trying to make a point. Unless the league wants to follow the same path as the NCAA currently is, I would bend to their players’ desires and hope for a better foundation the next time around.

Closing Thoughts

This article was published on the Belly Up Sports website and specifically its Soccer page. Belly Up Sports also has a Twitter page where you can interact with the network. I also have written for this outlet before so see my most recent story if you would like. If you would like to talk to me directly, feel free to chat with me on my Twitter as well. Try to keep it clean and proper. If you are incapable of doing so, ignore that completely and battle it out with me. Just a few warnings for those who dare challenge me. I am highly competitive and hate to admit when I am wrong. So be prepared for a war of words.

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Kyle Sramek

A sports fan that hates the fact that he is a Cowboys fan, but is now stuck with this miserable truth.

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