SBJ/May 22-28, 2017/Labor and Agents

New players association will rep most of NWSL’s players

More than 160 National Women’s Soccer League players have formed a players association that may later become a union.

The new group, the NWSL Players Association, will represent the interests of the majority of the players in the 10-team league.

“The idea is we want to have a solid organization to speak on behalf of the players who have not been represented in the past,” said Yael Averbuch, a defender for FC Kansas City, one of the organizers of the new players association and a player representative for her team. Each team elected two player reps and one alternate, she said.

AVERBUCH
“Eventually we will form a union,” Averbuch said. “But obviously, there is a lot of legal stuff that has to happen. The plan is to have a union. But as of now, it’s not a union, it’s a players’ association.”

Two other unions represent more than 30 other players in the league. The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association represents 23 players in the league. Ten other players are represented by the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association.

Averbuch said that Bob Foose, executive director of the MLS Players Union, was “extremely instrumental” in helping the women form the association.

Foose said he helped out the fledgling NWSLPA and Averbuch after she reached out to him more than a year ago. “She’s done a lot of work and I told her I am more than happy to give advice and share our experience,” Foose said.

If the NWSL players association wants more formal help in organizing a legal union that bargains the conditions of employment for the players, Foose said that he would go to the board of the MLSPU.

Averbuch said there is no timeline for taking the legal steps to make the NWSL a union, a process that would include an election, under U.S. labor law. The MLSPU, which represents the men on 22 teams in the U.S. and Canada in collective bargaining with MLS, was founded in 2003.

There is some cross-ownership between MLS and the NWSL. Three owners of MLS teams in Houston, Orlando and Portland also own NWSL teams.

In the NWSL, the salary cap per team is $315,000. The minimum salary is $15,000 and the maximum is $41,700. The women on the U.S. and Canadian national teams are not subject to the salary cap because their salaries are paid by their respective federations.

The league’s teams play 24 games, and the championship game is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Orlando City Stadium.

> WASSERMAN SIGNS NEW USWNT MEMBER: Wasserman has signed Mallory Pugh, a forward who is the newest member of the U.S. women’s soccer team and also plays for the NWSL’s Washington Spirit.

Richard Motzkin, Wasserman executive vice president and managing executive of soccer, will represent Pugh on and off the field. Wasserman is her first agency.

> ROC NATION SIGNS NBA DRAFT CLASS: Roc Nation Sports has signed three players for representation in this year’s NBA draft, including Villanova guard Josh Hart.

Roc Nation also signed Florida State forward Dwayne Bacon and Oregon forward/center Chris Boucher.

Joe Branch will represent Hart, Roger Montgomery will represent Bacon and Sam Permut will represent Boucher.

> EXCEL SIGNS DAHL: Excel Sports Management has signed Colorado Rockies outfielder David Dahl for representation. He was formerly represented by Sosnick Cobbe & Karon.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.


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