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Local women’s soccer team reacts as US Soccer brings about equal pay

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jaleen Council has been passionate about soccer since she was four years old.

“Everybody should be recognized for their talents and be rewarded for the work that they put in,” Council said.

Now, she plays for EWU’s women’s soccer team. But there are inequities in the sport that give women like her a whole other set of challenges that male players don’t face.

“Men are supposed to be mentally strong and so are women, but I feel like we have a lot more endeavors to go through in sports,” she added.

Today, U.S. Soccer announced new agreements to achieve equal pay for women — including equalizing World Cup prize money. It’s a move that head coach Stephen Peck says has been a long time coming.

“There are a lot of national teams around the world that don’t get support from their federations, and so this is another way for us to be able to lead,” Peck said.

With 25 years in coaching, Peck has led male and female teams.

“Athletes are athletes. You train hard to be able to compete well in the sport that you play. And that doesn’t change because I coach men or I coach women.,” Peck said.

Peck hopes the new changes in U.S. Soccer will bring about equity beyond the field.

“In a lot of aspects of our society here in the United States –— maybe even the world –— women are just not seen as being equal. The same job, same pay is something that should be across all things from being a doctor to being an athlete to being an entertainer,” Peck said.

Council says everyone from casual to diehard fans can help by simply showing more support for women’s sports.

“Us women, we put in the exact same work as men do when it comes to getting ready to compete on the field,” Council added.

U.S. Soccer says the equal pay agreements will run through 2028. They include the same pay for all competitions — including the World Cup — and the same commercial revenue for both teams.

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