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Senator introduces USWNT equal pay bill after letter from NCAA coach

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A letter from the women’s soccer coach at West Virginia University has spurred a politician to act on behalf of the United States women’s national team.

The Mountaineers’ head coach for nearly a quarter century, Nikki Izzo-Brown wrote the missive to senator Joe Manchin following the USWNT’s fourth World Cup title, and Manchin is taking a political step in response.

[ MORE: Takeaways from USWNT win ]

Manchin has introduced a bill on the Senate floor which says federal funding for hosting the 2026 World Cup will be withheld until the USWNT is paid on equal terms with the men.

According to a Huffington Post report, the money would normally go to host cities, U.S. Soccer, CONCACAF, and FIFA.

Here’s Manchin (from NBC News):

“The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry,” Senator Manchin said. “They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly.”

Many noted the “equal pay” chants at the World Cup final, and the USWNT has been trying to force the issue for some time.

The other part of this is that the USWNT is believed to currently be in negotiations with the federation about equal pay, and 2026 is a long way in the future. Also, it would seem likely the bill would be deemed a political ploy in the Senate, but hey, it’s something.

The news comes on the night that USWNT star Megan Rapinoe is making the rounds on several national news programs including MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Harkes, Buchanan named top players in NCAA Soccer

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The MAC Hermann Trophy winners were revealed Friday, with a very familiar surname claiming the men’s honors.

The awards, given to the players adjudged to be the best in NCAA Division I soccer, were handed out in St. Louis.

Wake Forest midfielder Ian Harkes won the men’s award, joining West Virginia women’s star Kadeisha Buchanan on the podium.

[ MORE: USSF rules on USL, NASL status ]

Harkes also joins his father and the first father-son combo to win the award.

Buchanan beat out USC midfielder Morgan Andrews and Stanford mid Andi Sullivan, while Harkes topped Maryland’s Gordon Wild and Florida Gulf Coast’s Albert Ruiz.

Past winners on the men’s side include a who’s who of USMNT stars like Claudio Reyna, Brad Friedel, Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, Jordan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, and Jay Heaps among them.

For the women, Mia Hamm, Tisha Venturini, Kristine Lilly, Christine Sinclair, Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, and Crystal Dunn dot the list.

Follow @NicholasMendola