The United States Women’s National Soccer Team is a game away from defending their World Cup title—and leading up to the big event, they used their time in the spotlight to highlight pay equality. (“The US Women’s National Soccer Team are ballers,” is how I wanted to start this story because I love a bad pun, but the professional writer in me balked.) Twenty-eight members of the team filed a lawsuit in March against the US Soccer Federation, saying that they deserve the same pay and treatment as the men’s team. “Equal pay is the future and should be the now,” Alex Morgan tells me.
To help shine a spotlight on their mission, she and the USWNT partnered with Secret Deodorant. “I feel like for me personally, it’s an authentic partnership that just felt like it was meant to be. When you’re talking about real life issues, and you have a partner that wants to raise those and give you the microphone to speak up, it’s a no-brainer,” she told me, as she and teammate Julie Ertz, sat down with me at the Los Angeles Nomad Hotel prior to the tournament.
The suit is about more than equal pay, though. “I don’t think that there’s ever been a time where we haven’t fought tooth and nail for every little thing we’ve gotten. So it’s also part of being a woman,” she says. Ertz adds that it’s attuned “to knowing what you’re worth just in general in your relationships and in your life.”
Beyond the ripple effect that the USWNT players hope to create within the sports world, their efforts will hopefully help those beyond the pitch, extending to younger generations. “I hope that this will inspire and encourage women to stand up for themselves,” says Morgan. “I’m a huge believer that people need people, and I think there is such a powerful thing about women supporting each other,” Ertz adds.
It’s a big task to take on, for sure. I’m over here just trying to deal with my writing deadlines and make sure my daily water to coffee to wine ratio skews in the favor of water. (At this current moment, coffee is winning.) With so much at stake and on their plates (you know, like training for the World Cup), I also wondered how the duo stays centered. “I love to do a lot of guided meditations on like, you know, stress, anxiety, confidence and just like feeling happy and grateful,” Morgan says when I ask her how she deals with all the pressure. “I try to like focus on those and I think that it helps me, it helps my game a lot because I feel like I am more clear minded and focused.”
Meditation…and pancakes. “We all do the pancakes thing,” says Ertz of the team’s pre-game ritual. Morgan takes hers vegan and gluten-free, while Ertz says hers are “regular.” So now when faced with the question of coffee v. water on the daily, rather than stress about my sitch, you’ll find me at the corner of meditation and pancakes…just like the USWNT taught me.
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