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Megan Rapinoe: NWSL needs ‘a billion dollars’ to do things properly

Rapinoe has consistently said she believes heavy investment in women’s sports at all levels is the key to growth and success.

USWNT star Megan Rapinoe holds the Women's World Cup trophy shortly after returning from France. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

United States women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe offered her prescription for improving the National Women Soccer League.

Rapinoe was asked during a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times Magazine, “Do you think the National Women’s Soccer League’s teams could be better-run businesses?”

She responded: “The problem with the ownership groups is that they’re run by millionaires. Which is great for your normal life, but you can’t be just a millionaire and run a team properly. So I don’t think they’re run great because they can’t be. They don’t have the resources.

“People always ask, ‘What do you think the league needs?’ What do you mean what does it need? We need to get out in the community more? No. We need to tweet about it more? No. It drives me nuts when people ask, ‘What do we need?’ A billion dollars! So we can do things properly. Not like idiots, which is what we end up doing.”

Rapinoe has consistently said she believes heavy investment in women’s sports at all levels is the key to growth and success. She has called on FIFA, U.S. Soccer, leadership of every national team program around the world, the NWSL and individual NWSL teams to either use their existing resources or seek sponsorships needed to better support athletes and grow the game.

She acknowledged during the New York Times Magazine interview that there is great pressure on players in the U.S. who are not among the 23 on the USWNT whose salaries are subsidized by U.S. Soccer and some additional challenges for all but a few USWNT players who have landed lucrative endorsement deals. 

Rapinoe said the wage insecurity has, at times, made it difficult for the U.S. women to avoid settling disputes with U.S. Soccer for less than what they are worth. If the entire group was open to a strike, it would change the dynamic of negotiations. She suggested the team’s recent World Cup win and surge in popularity, however, has given the players an edge going into mediation.

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