It's been almost a century since women earned the right to vote. Yet, the United States Soccer Federation didn't quite get the memo.
In a few weeks, the USSF will be voting in a new President. This is the first contested election in a long time. Eight people are in the race that runs the gamut from reformer athletes to establishmentarians. As one can expect, the USSF is stacking the deck against the reformers. The most infuriating of the ways? The votes of Division I women equal a third of Division I men's.
Several councils determine the USSF president. They are the Professional Council, the Adult Council, the Youth Council, and the Athlete's Council. The first three have 291 votes each whereas the Athlete's council has 228. (There are 34 votes unaccounted for in these councils). The problem lies with the Pro Council.
The votes in the Pro Council are divided among the different leagues, but they aren't divided evenly. According to the bylaws, "In the Professional Council, the number of delegates for each Professional League shall be based on the level of competitive division among the Professional Leagues." MLS alone receives 57.14% of the vote. The NWSL only has 18.05%. The remainder of the vote is given to the USL and NASL. Three of the four leagues in the council are male leagues. That alone should be enough to prove the inequity in USSF. Even still, MLS and NWSL are both Division I leagues, so why are the women counted as if they are in Division 1/3rd?
The answer: the MLS and Soccer United Marketing corruption that has plagued the entire sport and Federation for years.
This flagrant disregard for women isn't new to professional soccer. Female athletes receive substantially less compensation and, in the past, were forced to play on turf fields (which have been shown to increase ACL tears, ankle sprains, and concussions). It can be rectified, however. In about a week, the board will be voting on whether or not to amend the bylaws to give women an equal voice. Let's just hope they do the right thing.