While the US has never been closely connected to the world most popular Sport, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has been the most dominant team in the world for some time and has won four World Cup titles since the Women’s World Cup began in 1991.

Most of the USWNT players are members of the US National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which is considered one of the US Top women’s leagues in the world. However, some of the league’s biggest names have shocked the football world by leaving the US to play in Europe. These players lock in USWNT stars like Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Christen Press and Sam Mewis. Their departure wasn’t all that shocking.

Triggered by the worsening COVID-19 crisis across the country and a disturbing move by the NWSL, the players packed their bags. In May 2020, the NWSL made a controversy decision to become the first professional sports league in the US to return to gaming after the first shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Players withdrew from the league due to health concernsand teams like Morgan’s Orlando Pride had to retire because of a top of positive cases within the organization.

How the US government was criticized In order to cope with the pandemic, Europe has become an attractive environment for American female soccer players. Countries like England, Spain and Italy were ahead the pandemic curve that caused players to move overseas. As a pagan said ESPN in December: “It was a really impossible situation. I haven’t played a proper soccer game since March and it was a long time before I broke my career. ”

U.S. women’s national soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe picks up on spectators in St. Paul, Minnesota during the 2019 Victory Tour. (Wikimedia Commons / Lorie Shaull)

This was a necessary step for players who didn’t want the pandemic to get in the way of their careers and development. If they hadn’t decided to play in Europe, they might not have been able to play competitively for several months. This is a long time for professional players who are used to training every day.

Beyond the pandemic, players have found conditions in the US to be unfavorable. In March 2019 there were 28 players at the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the American Football Association for equal pay. Unfortunately for the USWNT, a federal judge in California decided against the players in May 2020. The verdict says that the women’s team was compensated more than the men’s team; However, the judge did not recognize the wage differences in terms of success.

The USWNT appealed the original court ruling, but a motion was filed to delay the trial in response to the pandemic. How USWNT members will respond to appeal remains questionable and could affect their return to the US.

2019 FIFA Player of the Year, USWNT’s Megan Rapinoe, has been at the forefront of the battle since the first lawsuit was filed. Rapinoe said CNN That same wage is about “so much more than the money”. She also noted that men’s sports are usually viewed as an exciting business opportunity, while women’s sports are often the essentials to keep the athletes happy.

We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY.

– Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) May 2, 2020

Rapinoe’s efforts are aimed at inspiring future generations of female soccer players and continuing to close the gender gap in sport. In one (n interview After a game in March 2020, Rapinoe urged younger generations to understand the importance of the subject.

“For every girl out there, for every boy out there who’s watching this team, who wants to be on this team, or just wants to live their dream, just because you’re a girl, you’re no less,” said Rapinoe. “You’re not better just because you’re a boy.”

Many politicians, celebrities, fans and athletes have shown their support for the USWNT’s fight for equality. At the ticker tape parade in New York City after the USWNT World Cup victory in 2019, fans celebrated their favorite players and sang: “Equal Pay! Same salary! ”

The combination of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the equal pay lawsuit will keep fans looking for their favorite players’ choices. USWNT members can continue to travel to Europe to escape the US, especially until the players get the same salary they deserve.