NWSL minimum salary to double for fifth season

First reported by The Houston Chronicle’s Corey Roepken on Wednesday, the National Women’s Soccer League will increase the player minimum salary in 2017 to roughly $15,000. In 2016, the minimum salary was $7,200, a more modest increase from the starting minimum salary in 2013 at $6,000. This is a far more considerable increase to address salaries at the lower end of the scale for the league. By the end of Wednesday, Equalizer Soccer had confirmed the new numbers with the league front office.

As of Thursday, there’s still no official word on how this will impact each of the 10 clubs’ salary caps. Last year, the cap was at $278,000.

While the news is certainly good, there’s still work to be done. Even with the increase, the NWSL is still far behind other minimum salaries—the WNBA’s is just around $35,000, the men’s professional league MLS is even higher at $60,000. Buy beyond that, amateur players are not paid. At this year’s college draft, coaches also expressed interest in the upper limits of player salaries as well, flirting with the idea of designated players who could be paid more than the max salary to help boost the league’s talent.

Haley Carter, former Houston Dash goalkeeper and current goalkeeper coach for the Afghanistan women’s national team, notably spoke up on Twitter to re-affirm that even with the big jump in salary, $15,000 is still not a living wage.

[More from Excelle Sports: Five seasons later, where are all the female coaches in pro women’s soccer?]

With plenty of players sharing apartments during the season or living with host families, and picking up part time jobs or coaching gigs, the NWSL still has a long way to go. But this is another clear indicator that heading into its fifth season, the league is in a strong position to start raising minimum standards at every level and that the continuous improvement of the league will be bigger and better than what players and fans have seen.

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