U.S. Soccer Quote Sheet: Women's National Team Contract Announcement
NEW YORK (Tuesday, February 1, 2000) - Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, U.S. Soccer President; Alan Rothenberg, Immediate Past President of U.S. Soccer; Carla Overbeck, Co-captain and U.S. defender of U.S. Women's National Team
Feb. 1, 2000
Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, President of U.S. Soccer
Opening statement: "I am really pleased to announce this historic agreement. This five year agreement will allow the U.S. Women's National soccer team to be full-time athletes. I would like to thank all of those in involved in this long process. The contact is historical in that it is a five year deal, is based on performance and allows for a transition for the older players as they leave the higher level of competition."
On U.S. Soccer's commitment to women's soccer: "You have to look were we have come from since 1989 when women's sports were not on the front page. U.S. Soccer has made a huge commitment towards women's soccer since the very beginning and has been the leader in promoting the women's game. Did we have the finance for it? Absolutely not. We went into debt doing this. I am not aware of any other national governing body that has made the commitment that we have towards the promotion and success of women's sports."
On financial markers set for the women's team: "A lot of the income we are looking to get depends on how many crowds they bring into the game. We have been more aggressive in getting attendance at the national team games. We are confident that we will meet those markers we have set. We are investing in the future of all our teams and if that means losing money in the beginning for the development of our players, that is a worthwhile investment."
On details regarding severance and maternity pay: "There is a three month severance pay. With regards to the maternity leave, it will continue from the last contract."
Alan Rothenberg, Immediate Past President of U.S. Soccer
Opening statement: "We (U.S. Soccer) are a non-profit organization and have other national teams. An agreement was reached that resulted in a flexible contract that is very similar to the men's national team contract. With no professional league, the women will receive an extra guarantee for each appearance with the national team. The men do not receive a guarantee because their is a professional league in the U.S. The guarantee disappears once a women's league is formed. The women will also earn bonuses for World Cup and Olympics. Our women's team is the best competitive team in all of sports (men & women). We (U.S. Soccer ) are the first in the business of sports to produce a strong stand on gender equality in sports."
Carla Overbeck, Co-captain and U.S. defender of U.S. Women's National Team
On the importance of this contact: "It was very important. We love the game of soccer and love to play. We would like to play it as a career and until now women have not had the opportunity to do so. For the younger generation they will be able to make a living playing soccer weather it is for the national team or training on their own. This is a huge step for women in sports. We have been fighting for this for the last 12 years. With the new contract and the commitment U.S. Soccer has made women will be able to play soccer as a career."
On Importance of severance pay and transition pay: "I think that the contact is about the younger players. With what we have gone through the last few years we wanted to make sure that the younger players could make a living when we left. As for severance pay we wanted some guarantees if some people that were on the world cup team didn't make the Olympic team and the next world cup team."
On where women's sports are: "Within in the last year our bonuses have been good. I have been on the team for 12 years and during that time we have had to have outside jobs to make a living. Women have to be treated equally as men. I have been doing appearances on the side and people would come up to me and tell me that they were behind us. We believed what were doing was right and had the support of the nation behind us. We had nothing to lose only the opportunity to make a statement for professional women sports."