Everyone has heard that the United States Women’s National Team is fighting in court for their compensation and an overwhelming majority support their fight. However, not everyone has heard that the 7v7 (Paralympic) side is also in dire need of compensation for the efforts the team provides. In this article we will discuss who the 7v7 side is and why they need our help. Remember, You are capable of joining this fight.
People will listen and people will support you. If nothing else, I will support you.
For those who are unfamiliar with the 7v7 Men’s National Team, all of the members suffer from a disability that may not be visible to the human eye. Athletes may have a diagnosis of non-progressive brain damage that is creates a motor control dysfunction such as cerebral palsy, a traumatic brain injury or a stroke. All of these men have overcome significant hardship to prove to us all that anything is possible. Doctors may have told these guys that they will never play the beautiful game again, but they have overcome the problems just like I firmly believe with our help, we can overcome the hardships they face of not being fairly compensated for their success.
This is a team that is full of heroes and inspirations to us all. They play and reassure those with disabilities that no matter what happens, you can always achieve what you put your mind to. Many of these players have been or are part of the family that is the U.S Military. In the 2016 Paralympic World Cup that occurred this past summer, four of the fourteen are part of the Armed Forces. These men include team captain Seth Jahn representing Lakeland, Florida, defender David Garza representing San Diego, California, defender Gavin Sibayan representing Denver, Colorado, and midfielder Josh Brunais, the US Army Veteran out of Stafford, Virginia who carried our nation’s pride, the stars and stripes, at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. We thank these brave men for their service in defending our nation and now we continue cheering them on in their mission of bringing soccer glory to our great nation. The story doesn’t stop here; the US 7v7 side has a few of my fellow Ohioans in the names of goalkeeper Alex Hendricks of Columbus, Ohio and midfielder Tyler Bennett of Akron, Ohio. U.S Disabled Player of the Year and prolific striker Adam Ballou comes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Striker Drew Bremer of Grand Rapids, Michigan and goalkeeper Sean Boyle from Minneapolis, Minnesota represent the Northern States. Coming from the West Coast, there’s defender Bryce Boarman of Colorado Springs, Colorado and San Diego midfielder Mason Abbiate. Coming from the beautiful Southern states are midfielders Steven Bohlemann of Weston, Florida, Gregory Brigman of Harrisburg, North Carolina, and Kevin Hensley of Memphis, Tennessee. Now you have met the team and know who you are standing up and fighting for.
As of the December 15th, 2016 rankings the US National Side are in 6th place, sitting below Ukraine, Brazil, Netherlands, Argentina and Ireland. Rounding out the top eight are Russia and England. Of the elite eight of 7v7 soccer, only one nation does not have a full time program dedicated to the sport. Did you guess the United States? Neither did I when I was first asked.
In order to continue the development of US Soccer and see the US as number one in every aspect of the game, we need to have adequate funding for these guys and a full time program. It isn’t very rare for a player to hang up their boots early on this team because he needs a better paying job. At any given time, the US Soccer Federation has more cash in the bank than many of us would know what to do with. However, the USSF doesn’t deem it necessary to provide these guys with the compensation they deserve while their counterparts around the world do. The USMNT players, per PBS, makes $76,000 just for making the World Cup roster. The USWNT players, who are in court fighting their wage issues, make $15,000 for making the World Cup roster. The US 7v7 side gets travel costs and dinner checks paid for, however there is no pay for making the team or achieving success like the USMNT and USWNT see.
I firmly believe that the US 7v7 side have done more than enough in their career to earn at least $15,000 for making rosters. However, when it comes to the exact dollar amount, many can argue for days. These players cannot take the financial risk of taking the stand in court and facing the punishment that Hope Solo received. We have to take the stand and fight for them. All I ask is that the minimum you do is join me in taking that stand. There are endless ways that you can contribute.
It is time to Reform the USSF and clean up US Soccer once and for all, what are you waiting for?
Join me in the fight on twitter (@aidan_reagh), join the movement (@AmericanSoccerU), and use the official movement hashtag #ReformUSSF. Keep an eye out for new articles on USSFreform.com and on social media and always feel welcome to send your own content to be hosted on our site.
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