Fans of women’s soccer had been dialing up the tension since the Algarve Cup, worried that U.S. Women’s National Team players being counted on to carry the new National Women’s Soccer League may not report to their clubs. The national teamers were without a collective bargaining agreement, their deal with U.S. Soccer having run out. While they could have began their new NWSL careers without a formal agreement in place, the players association’s lawyer said that wasn’t going to happen. A new deal needed to be done before the players would report.
This morning, the USWNSTPA and U.S. Soccer averted that crisis that never was. The organizations jointed announced their new collective bargain agreement, a deal that will run through the 2016 Summer Olympics. Players can report to their NWSL teams “on time.”
Via the league’s website:
“We are pleased to have concluded this agreement in a timely manner. It took a little longer than we had hoped given the complexity of the issues involved but we are happy it is now behind us. This agreement will allow the players to focus on keeping the U.S. Women’s National Team at the top of the sport and ensure the NWSL is successful for its launch in April.”
When, exactly, players report varies from person-to-person and team-to-team. According to an NWSL spokesman, there’s no set date players are required to report. A previously speculated March 19th date was effectively the beginning of an open window.
Some players will start practicing on Wednesday. Others (beyond the national team) have visa issues that will need to be resolved.
Other players, like Alex Morgan, will trickle in based on other commitments. Morgan was in New York on Tuesday for a promotional shoot. The Portland Thorns aren’t expecting her at practice until next week.
The deal may have taken “a little longer than [they] had hoped,” but that’s the way these CBA things go, particularly in sports. With the national team having just finished a long-term stay in Europe, it’s no surprise dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s took some time.
That created some anxiety among fans, but those trepidations weren’t replicated by the clubs and the players. With both sides seemingly in constant contact, this deal was always destined to get done. And on Wednesday, it did.