Women’s soccer is “poised for rapid growth”, according to US Soccer’s president, as the defending World Cup champions look to win their third straight title after beating Wales 2-0 in San Jose on Sunday.
After a club season of record-breaking attendances and transfer fees, the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand looks set to be another showcase of a growing sport.
While women’s soccer has long held sway in the States, Cindy Parlow Cone says it is now gaining popularity globally and that will change in the coming years.
She explained, “Before the women’s game was seen largely as a charity, investing in the women’s game was a good thing.” sky game In an exclusive interview.
“I think what we’ve seen here in America over a long period of time, and now a lot of other countries and federations and clubs are taking note that investing in the women’s side of the game makes really good business sense. …
“We are seeing sponsors become more committed to women’s sports, with media and broadcasters investing more in their coverage.
“We are seeing more fans in the stands and all this progress is fantastic and we will continue to push it forward.
“You know, I think it’s just the beginning. I think the men’s game will continue to grow, but the women’s game is now at a point where it’s poised for rapid growth.”
The focus this week has been on the importance of the women’s game, with England players in a dispute with the FA over performance-related bonuses at the upcoming World Cup.
Parlow Cone has been a key figure in the field of pay for female footballers – she negotiated unprecedented collective-bargaining agreements for US teams, making the US the first country to achieve gender parity on pay.
Earnings from both the men’s and women’s teams go into a pot and are then divided fairly between the two.
Although he did not comment directly on the case in England, he underlined the difficulty of achieving equal pay, as well as the need for continued progress.
“We have seen the impact of many other federations taking steps to achieve or move towards equal pay and FIFA has recently taken a step in the right direction with the development of a portion of prize money that is guaranteed to players. The players will earn 60 per cent more from FIFA in this World Cup than in the last World Cup, he added.
“There is still a lot to be done and we will continue to work with FIFA and any federation that approaches us to see how we did it. We would be happy to help. But I also think that It is important to note that each federation can take steps towards equal pay or equal investment.
“Not every federation can probably reach the same pay as us. It took us a long time to reach where we are. I think forward progress is really important. So whether it’s starting youth teams or Investing more in or improving your women’s team, or increasing the number or amount of programming on the girls’ and women’s side, or reducing the pay gap between the men’s and women’s teams can reduce.”
USA going into World Cup on experience
The United States go into the tournament as favourites, just ahead of England, with their eyes set on winning their third consecutive World Cup. This has never been achieved before in either the men’s or women’s game.
Speaking ahead of the win over Wales, Parlow Cone – who won the title with the USA in 1999 – said there was real optimism around the USA camp that their quality and experience could lead them to victory again.
“The excitement level is very high,” he said. “I think the players and staff are excited to be moving to New Zealand so they can settle in and really work on preparing for the Women’s World Cup.
“As far as the women’s team and their ability to win a third consecutive and fifth star overall is concerned, I am confident. I look forward to watching this team over the next few weeks and watching their growth and development as a player.” Looking forward to seeing.” team because you need it to be able to win the World Cup.
“I think [their experience] is really important. You do all the preparation that you can and you make sure that everything goes as well as possible for the World Cup, but if it’s your first World Cup, you don’t really know what to expect. You may think you know but you really don’t know until you get there.
“And so a lot of the players in the team have experience having played in a World Cup, some have played in multiple World Cups, I think that will be really valuable to the team and try to help the players in their first World Cup.” ” Help them in that process.”
‘Rapino will continue to do great work’
One of those veteran players is Megan Rapinoe, who announced she will retire from the game at the end of the 2023 NWSL season.
With two World Cups, an Olympic gold medal and 199 caps for her country, Rapinoe’s status as an all-time great in American soccer is assured, regardless of what happens in Australia and New Zealand. But the forward has also made headlines for his influence off the field and for speaking out on social issues.
Parlo Cone expects Rapinoe to remain an influential figure long after she retires.
Parlow Cone said, “I think we are all saddened to hear the announcement, but at the same time, very grateful for what Megan has done on and off the field.” “His influence has been felt by many in America as well as around the world.
“His influence has been both on and off the field. I know personally that he has inspired me to be a better person, a better leader. I know he has done that for other people. have done similar things.”
“We will certainly miss Megan but I don’t think this is the last we hear from Megan.
“She will continue to do great work, even if it is not between the white lines.”
A United States victory in the World Cup would be a way for them to make their mark on the international stage.
When and where is the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
This year’s tournament will be held Australia And new zealand making it the first ever co-hosted Women’s World Cup.
the tournament begins July 20 with the final 20 august In Sydney at Accor Stadium.
America are the defending champions and are trying to become the first team in the competition’s history to win the tournament three times in a row.