The NWSL Players Association ratifies its first collective agreement

A night before players were supposed to report to preseason camps, the NWSL Players Association announced that the union had ratified the league’s first collective bargaining agreement. The NWSL Board of Governors approved the ABC on Tuesday, sources said. Athleticism.

The ABC is the premier women’s professional soccer team in the United States. The ABC will run for five years, according to the AP.

While the players were prepared to go on a work stoppage if there was no CBA in place by Feb. 1, the statement said “players will report to pre-season camp tomorrow with safety, security and protections” of this new CBA.

The full document is not yet available, but it includes a major raise to the league’s minimum wage for 2022, up to $35,000 (from 2021’s $22,000 minimum), as well as phased increases for the other players.

Free agency will also begin in the 2023 season. Sources said Athleticism that the league hoped free agency would go into effect a year later, but there seems to be a compromise in the new ABC. Free agency will begin for players with a minimum of six years in 2023, then that number will drop to five years in 2024. Restricted free agency will begin in 2024 for players who have played three years in the NWSL.

There are also new protections for waived players and improvements to player safety, including up to six months of paid mental health leave. Also worth noting: “No more playing on pitches that require a substantial conversion to football pitch dimensions.” While Kansas City Current and OL Reign had previously planned to leave their converted ballparks for the 2022 season, the new CBA ensures that no further waivers will be granted in this regard.

The ABC will now require teams to provide additional medical staff. According to the NWSL statement released Monday evening, the league will hire a medical director and teams must now “provide the services, at a minimum, of a team physician, massage therapist, sports scientist, ‘a sports psychologist and a team clinician to provide mental health services.’

The players had sought to control their own group name and image licensing rights as part of the ABC. The league statement says the NWSL will now commit $255,000 to $300,000 per year for those rights.

“Since our inception, The Players Association has put players first,” said NWSLPA President Tori Huster. “Our mission in this historic CBA was to put that same philosophy at the center of NWSL’s future. With the care and attention we have given to this process since the fall of 2020, we are proud that players can confidently approach the tenth season of the NWSL in a better position than ever before.

(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Andrew B. Reiter