USWNT Olympic Qualifying Begins Tonight Under Cloud of Labor Dispute

February 10, 2016

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past week, you’re well aware of the ongoing labor dispute between the United States Soccer Federation and the Women’s National Team Players Association – the union that represents the USWNT.

If not, it basically boils down to the federation suing the players in federal court to prevent a potential strike and force the union to abide by the no-strike clause in the two parties’ original labor contract – which officially expired in 2012. The union, for their part, believes they should not be held to the no-strike provision under the temporary agreement (known as a Memorandum of Understanding) the two parties signed after the 2012 agreement ran out.

And, if you want a really long, detailed explanation of the facts at hand from an attorney’s point of view, this one is the best I’ve read.

Regardless, the U.S. kicks off Olympic qualifying tonight against Costa Rica at 7:30 p.m. CT – you can watch the game online with NBC Live Extra. Of note for National Women’s Soccer League fans, Costa Rica is led by recent Sky Blue draft pick Raquel Rodriguez. Rodriguez also led Penn State to the national title game this fall, scoring the game-winning goal in the final.

Speaking of the NWSL, the league was hit by another young retirement yesterday when another Sky Blue player, Hayley McCall, called it quits after only playing two seasons. If you haven’t done so, check out this excellent piece by Stephanie Yang on what the league could do to cut down on so many premature retirements.

Finally, it appears the women’s college game is taking a step back, especially at smaller Division I schools. This disturbing article by Chris Henderson presents the story of coaching changes at Eastern Illinois University and Western Illinois University that seem to be based much more on convenience and expediency than what is right for those respective programs.

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