United States women announce new players association leadership group
The United States women’s national team players association has announced a new leadership structure, with Meghan Klingenberg, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn elected to serve as the group’s official player representatives.
The three representatives will serve one-year terms and be responsible for the operations of the union. The trio is also part of the union’s a collective bargaining agreement committee, a group which also includes Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Sam Mewis.
The players association announced the new leadership as well the addition of Becca Roux as the group’s interim executive director. Roux assumes the position vacated by Rich Nichols, whose departure from the USWNTPA was announced on Dec. 28, 2016.
“We are very proud of the USWNT Players Association and thrilled to have Becca’s leadership moving forward,” Sauerburnn said, in a statement released by the player’s association. “Becca is not only deeply knowledgeable regarding the issues we face, but also has spot-on business acumen. She brings a passion for sports and a profound commitment to equity for women.”
Roux and the players will resume collective bargaining with U.S. Soccer on February 4, according to the players association’s statement. The two sides are attempting to forge a new collective bargaining agreement, with the previous CBA having expired at the end of 2016.
The players’ association has also hired the law firm Bredhoff Kaiser LLP to serve as lead counsel in negotiations.
Sauerbrunn told FourFourTwo on Thursday that players are optimistic that a deal could be done before the start of the NWSL's fifth season, which is expected to begin on the weekend of April 15.
"We feel that we've certainly set ourselves up to get a deal done and we hope to have a deal done before the NWSL season," she said.
The women’s national team and the federation continue to operate under the terms of the previous CBA, with each side prevented from initiating a work stoppage without providing 60 days’ notice.
“We believe there is a way for both parties to win, and in doing so, create a new sense of partnership moving forward,” Press said. “We are committed to a thoughtful approach and are hopeful that USSF will work with us to create a fair future for the USWNT that emphasizes respect, equitable compensation, and partnership.”
Speaking to FourFourTwo, Rapinoe emphasized that the effort will require a large number of people to work together. The end goal, however, remains the same.
"We haven't had a goals change," she said. "We still believe that we can get to a place where each side is happy with it."
One of the new initiatives for the U.S. women's national team is an alumni engagement committee. Current players and former national team players from all eras recently joined together on a conference call to discuss as part of what all parties hope is a more cohesive relationship going forward.
"We would really love to have all have the old players and the current players in a much more accessible networks," Rapinoe said, noting that those talks are in early stages, and the CBA is the first priority.
The United States plays its first game of 2017 on March 1 in Chester, Pennsylvania, against Germany to kick off the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.