New Turf Fight Has U.S. Soccer and Women’s Team at Odds Again

In April, when U.S. Soccer and the women’s national team announced they had agreed to terms on a new C.B.A., they ended a public fight that had been framed largely as a dispute over the issue of equal pay. But each side also heralded the deal as something more valuable: the start of a new partnership, one that gave the players a bigger voice in their team’s day-to-day affairs.

Now, however, the players are accusing U.S. Soccer of ignoring that understanding and of making scheduling decisions without fair consideration of the team’s input and concerns. The unhappiness also has resuscitated long-simmering complaints about fairness, respect and equal treatment with the men’s national team, which has played only one home match on artificial turf since the start of 2014.

“We feel that it’s not their top priority to put us on grass,” Rapinoe said, “so they don’t.”

The problem, the women’s team is finding, is that both sides’ preference to avoid the surface whenever possible is often eclipsed by other obstacles, like stadium availability, scheduling rotations to avoid frequent trips to the same market and even weather.


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