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  • Writer's pictureEmma Treptow

History Made: The NWSL's First-Ever CBA

On January 31, 2022, the NWSL Player’s Association announced the ratification of the first-ever NWSL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Only a few specifics were announced but these included a 160 percent increase in minimum salary which boosted it to $35k, the beginning of free agency starting for veteran players with a minimum of six years in the league in 2023, and a large section about player safety which included up to six months paid mental health leave, professional minimum staffing standard for healthcare professionals and no more playing on fields that are not a soccer field.

At the time of the first announcement, NWSLPA President Tori Huster was quoted in their statement saying “From our inception, the Players Association has put players first. Our mission in this historic CBA was to put this same philosophy at the center of NWSL’s future. With the amount of care and attention that we have given this process since Fall 2020, we are proud that players can confidently enter the tenth season of the NWSL in a better position than ever before.”

On Friday, April 29, 2022, before Angel City FC’s inaugural home game at the Banc Stadium with a sold-out crowd of 23,000 people, the new commissioner Jessica Berman and NWSLPA Executive Director Meghann Burke made the CBA official by signing it on the field before kickoff. This made the CBA officially official making history for the league.

Photo courtesy of @NWSL /twitter

On Monday, May 2, 2022, the entire CBA was released to the public. Section 8.4 includes a description of bonuses for certain awards within the league. Some of the bonuses are $5,000 for the winners of the NWSL Shield and NWSL Championship. The NWSL Runner-Up will receive $3,750. There are other bonuses for semi-finalists, quarterfinalists, Challenge Cup champions, and runners-up. Any selected players for Best 11, Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, Golden Boot, Defender of the Year, or Goalkeeper of the Year will receive a $5,000 bonus. A layout of the minimum salaries ranging from the years 2022 to 2026 is described in Section 8.1. The 2022 minimum salary is $35,000 and the 2026 minimum salary will be $40,945. Section 9.1 talks about health insurance and that the NWSL will continue to offer medical, dental, and vision insurance plans that are offered but with no cost to the player. Section 9.8 is about the pregnancy benefit for the players and that any player that is pregnant will receive 100 percent of their base salary. Article 13 is all about player movement and includes free agency, the NWSL entry draft, discovery lists, trades, expansion drafts, and the waiver wire. Article 23 is the All-Star Game saying that if the NWSL elects to hold an All-Star Game (ASG), the NWSL will name a minimum of eighteen players per ASG team.

I recommend if you would like to learn more about the CBA, go to the NWSLPA’s contract section of the website.


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