Fresh off their World Cup win, the US women’s soccer team is facing their biggest challenger yet: The US Soccer Federation. And they’re taking the fight to the field—literally.
After traveling to Hawaii for an international game this past Sunday, the team arrived to Aloha Stadium to find a field made from artificial turf, “a surface that players consider inferior, and that men’s international teams almost never play on,” reports BuzzFeed. Aside from the fact that the turf—in any condition—would never fly with the men’s team (and which caused quite a bit of controversy in the lead-up to the World Cup, as Abby Wambach and other star players sued FIFA over the lack of equal treatment when it came to their playing field), this one in particular was filled with rips and sharp rocks, making it extremely hazardous. So the team decided to skip the game.
To add insult to injury (again, literally), during practice the day before the would-be game, the team’s midfielder Megan Rapinoe seriously hurt her knee while practicing on a grassy field filled with plastic and sewer plates. “The men’s team, by contrast, did not play a US soccer game on turf all year; when they toured to a turf stadium, a layer of sod and grass was laid above the artificial surface,” notes Buzzfeed.
This isn’t the first time that the women’s team has been treated unfairly—after winning the Cup, the team took home a $2 million prize, which is a far cry from the $9 million that the US men’s team received as a consolation prize for losing in the knockout round.
“I think our fans can read between the lines and see it’s not about one game, it’s a matter of equity in all conditions,” gatekeeper Hope Solo told BuzzFeed. We totally agree. Go kick some balls, Team USA! —Sarah Sarway
(Photo: Julie Foundy via Twitter)