USWNT Players Unhappy With U.S. Soccer For Too Many Games On Artificial Turf
U.S. Soccer "declined to comment publicly" on complaints from USWNT members that they will close their '17 schedule with "four of their final nine matches on artificial turf," according to Caitlin Murray of the N.Y. TIMES. Five months after the two sides "completed often contentious negotiations" on a new CBA, the players' unhappiness has "resuscitated long-simmering complaints about fairness, respect and equal treatment" with the USMNT. The men have played only "one home match on artificial turf" since the start of '14. USWNT MF Megan Rapinoe said, "We feel that it’s not their top priority to put us on grass, so they don’t." Murray notes the "lack of a specific ban on turf" in the CBA was "by design; it would have tied U.S. Soccer’s hands in venue selection." Arrangements for "several of the games on turf fields," including Tuesday’s victory over New Zealand at Nippert Stadium and next month's match against Korea in New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome, were "finalized after the completion" of the CBA. While the players were "made aware of the reasoning behind each venue choice months ago -- a transparency written into the new labor agreement -- they contend that continuing to play on turf violates the spirit, if not the letter, of their new deal, which includes language assuring that natural grass would be the 'preferred' surface for matches." The team had "repeatedly pressed to avoid the turf in New Orleans, in particular, going so far as to propose several alternative sites with grass fields." The union said that the federation "rejected them without seriously exploring alternatives" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/22).
PUTTING IT TO BED: In S.F., Ann Killon reports U.S. Soccer "reached a settlement" with former USWNT G Hope Solo last month, "avoiding arbitration." The USWNT players’ association "filed a grievance on behalf of Solo, after she was suspended from the team more than a year ago and her contract was terminated" following allegations of domestic violence (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/22).