A weekend that saw Ali Krieger suffer a scary head injury was another reminder of what’s at-risk for players in low-paying leagues around the world.
Sure, Krieger’s salary is paid by U.S. Soccer and not the Washington Spirit, but the 30-year-old USWNT player’s story shows is still a cautionary reminder of what the women of the National Women’s Soccer League are putting on the line in order to grow a league by getting by on salaries largely between $6,000-38,000 over six months.
[ SPORTSWORLD: NWSL players chasing the dream ]
Consider the tale of recently-retired 25-year-old Kate Deines, from Jeff Kassouf’s NBC SportsWorld piece on life in the NWSL:
Deines played in 18 matches in 2014 for the Reign, starting half of them. The longtime Pacific Northwest inhabitant was traded to FC Kansas City in the offseason and she is exactly the type of player who is likely to have a great opportunity to take on a more prominent role this season and next as clubs deal with player absences due to the World Cup and Olympics. But Deines, who has a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies as well as a master’s in continued education from the University of Washington, couldn’t continue to turn down business opportunities in favor of the low-paying league.
In the increasingly expensive Seattle housing market, Deines’ income level meant she lived in a five-bedroom house with three teammates and a pair of players from Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders.
“It definitely feels like an extension of college life, and it is way less glamorous than college,” Deines said.
As for the on-the-field, some lopsided scores popped up on opening weekend.
Seattle Reign 5-1 Western New York Flash
Even when Megan Rapinoe wasn’t scoring, her Welsh hair-twin Jess Fishlock was making sure a shock of blonde hair was putting a ball in the goal. Rapinoe recorded a hat trick as Seattle busted open the match with four second-half goals. Fishlock and Beverly Yanez also scored, while Jordan Angeli netted for the Flash.
Washington Spirit 0-2 Houston Dash
New faces shone in Friday’s league opener, as Carli Lloyd and Kealia Ohai scored on each side of halftime and Stephanie Roche subbed on to make her NWSL debut for Randy Waldrum’s Dash. Ashlyn Harris made five saves in the loss.
Boston Breakers 1-4 Portland Thorns
Allie Long goals in the 71st and 72nd minutes salted away this one for the visitors, while Meleana Shim added a goal and two assists. Sinead Farrelly also scored, with Stephanie McCaffrey providing Boston’s only goal.
Sky Blue FC 1-0 FC Kansas City
Nadia Nadim’s first-half goal helps Sky Blue steal one from FCKC, which out shot the hosts 15-5. Lauren Holiday led all players with four shots, all on goal.
Idle: Chicago Red Stars