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USWNT and USSF might be making progress in CBA negotiations

Things seem to be progressing after the team replaced their old lawyer.

Soccer: Men's World Cup Soccer Qualifier-Honduras at USA Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The US women’s national team replaced the head of their Players Association on December 28 last year; since then, their collective bargaining agreement negotiations with US Soccer seemed to have started inching forward again.

Now Andrew Das at the New York Times says that the team is continuing that negotiation in Texas as they prepare for two friendlies against Russia on April 6 and April 9 in Frisco and Houston respectively. The Texas negotiations are just the latest in apparently over 20 meetings in 2017, which included daily meetings in February as the team prepared for the SheBelieves tournament.

Relations between the WNT and USSF were frosty throughout most of 2016 as they went back and forth over the CBA and an EEOC complaint filed by the team in March over alleged unequal pay between the men’s and women’s team. But then at the end of the year the team let go of former counsel Rich Nichols, and things started moving forward again without Nichols’ aggressive style perhaps throwing up roadblocks. You can follow the timeline of the saga with our always-updated guide.

The USWNTPA’s current player representatives are Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, and Christen Press. None of the three have specifically addressed the most recent negotiations, but they did tweet in support of the US women’s hockey team with a unified message:

This and the NYT’s reporting that the Texas negotiations made progress on noneconomic issues like per diems but did not manage to find similar detente with the main issue of compensation would seem to indicate that there’s still a ways to go.

NWSL home openers are April 15; with US Soccer responsible for WNT player salaries in NWSL, presumably that money is also an item up for negotiation as part of their overall compensation by the fed. WNT players in the league haven’t outright indicated that they would not report to their NWSL clubs at any point, nor have they given notice of an intent to go on strike. But it’s to their benefit and to the benefit of their clubs to have their compensation settled before the season begins. Hopefully all parties can come to a solution soon so that the players can focus on the season.