US Soccer Hall of Fame inductees praise equal pay agreement
FRISCO, Texas. (AP) — Shannon Boxx, Christie Pearce Rampone and Linda Hamilton all celebrated this week’s landmark equal pay agreement with U.S. Soccer as the three women were enshrined Saturday in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
“As the women’s national team, we have always known we have a greater responsibility than just winning games. The newest contract is a testament to the work the past and the present players have done off the field,” Boxx said. “As a Black athlete, I also felt the responsibility to every young Black girl and boy who’s sitting in the stands or watching on TV.”
Clint Dempsey, Marco Etcheverry and Esse Baharmast were also inducted in the ceremony at the Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas.
U.S. soccer announced earlier this week it had reached collective bargaining agreements with both the men’s and women’s teams to equalize their pay going forward. The two teams agreed to share World Cup prize money.
“The history lesson of this is, a couple of days ago there was that equality pay (agreement), but maybe some of you don’t actually know where we started. When we won the World Cup in 1991, we made $15 a day. That was the per diem, no salaries. No bonuses. It was $15 a day,” Hamilton said. “So I think about that. And I think we weren’t winning for the money, obviously. But we wanted to be competitors.”
Dempsey, a three-time U.S. Soccer Federation Player of the Year, is tied with Landon Donovan for the U.S. record of 57 international goals. Donovan made 141 appearances for the national team from 2004-17. He played for New England (2004-06), Fulham (2017-12), Tottenham (2012-13) and Seattle (2013-18), and his 82nd-minute chip against Juventus put Fulham into the 2010 Europa League quarterfinals.
Dempsey sobbed as he thanked his parents for launching his career.
“Anything is possible, because if you look at where I came from, I wasn’t supposed to make it and through the craziness my parents were able to fight against the odds,” Dempsey said.
Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was voted into this year’s class but announced last month that she would delay her induction for a year while she participates in an in-patient treatment program following her arrest on a DWI charge in late March.
Boxx was a midfielder who scored 27 goals in 195 international appearances from 2003-15. She is among three women who played in all three seasons of the Women’s United Soccer Association and Women’s Professional Soccer and the first three seasons of the National Women’s Soccer League.
Rampone, a defender, won three Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles in a career that spanned three decades. She was originally voted into the Hall of Fame last year but put off her induction until this season in reaction to a string of scandals in the NWSL.
“I can truly say I was surrounded by powerful women who knew that we had to make the sacrifices in order to gain greater opportunity for the future generations,” Rampone said. “To see growth of the team over the years and the opportunities that are available for the younger generation is genuinely one of the most fulfilling parts of the journey. ”
Hamilton, elected from the veteran ballot, was part of the U.S. championship team at the 1991 Women’s World Cup and made 71 international appearances from 1987-95.
Etcheverry, also chosen from the veteran ballot, was a three-time Major League Soccer champion with D.C. United from 1996-2003 and was voted league MVP in 1998. He scored 13 goals in 71 appearances for Bolivia from 1989-2003.
Baharmast, elected from the builder ballot, was as MLS referee and officiated games between Spain and Nigeria, and Brazil-Norway at the 1998 World Cup.
Dempsey received 97.9% from the player voting committee, followed by Boxx at 91.7%, Solo at 81.3%.