As we enter the new year, women’s soccer is preparing for the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. This is the third annual happening of this event, put on by the U.S. Women’s National Team Players as part of the SheBelieves Campaign. The SheBelieves Campaign works to encourage young girls in pursuing their passions and talents, athletic or otherwise.

Naysayers sometimes question gender’s role in sports, and why women’s soccer is getting so much attention. However, they may not realize the struggle women’s sports and athletics have experienced through time.

Gender inequality still exists in the sports world more than many people know. The 2018 SheBelieves Cup is not only exciting for logistics and general competition, but also for the growth it’s incurring for women’s soccer and women’s sports in general.

The Game Stakes

As this is the third annual SheBelieves Cup, rivalries are springing up and players are coming back to claim vengeance! With four international participants, the USA came out on top in the 2016 games, defeating Germany, France, and England. In 2017 however, France reigned victorious, meaning both France and the USA have reputations to defend and fight for. England and Germany fought good fights, and certainly pose threats this year to both of the past champions.

SheBelieves is bringing some of the best soccer players from around the world — all women. According to U.S. Soccer, Carli Lloyd (2015 and 2016 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year) and Alex Morgan are both on the US team. Additionally mentioned are Eugenie Le Sommer (France), Alexandra Popp (Germany), and Stephanie Houton (England).

Women’s Frontline Battle With The Professional Sports Industry

Women’s soccer has more viewers, and as an industry, brings more money in than men’s soccer (though male soccer players are paid more). In a Business Insider Report, it was revealed that male soccer players certainly make much more than women. “Members of the women’s team received a $75,000 bonus for winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup. If the men were ever to win a World Cup, their bonus [would be] $400,000.”

Things like this led several notable US women’s team players to file a wage discrimination complaint with the EEOC last year. The reasons for this are backed up with hard numbers. Women’s soccer brings in $20 million more than men’s soccer. 25.4 million people watched the 2015 World Cup Final against Japan (the most watched soccer match in the history of the United States). And women were still paid significantly less under the current system.

In general, women make up 40 percent of professional sports players and account for 4 percent of media coverage, according to an infographic by Ohio University. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team received national attention from Barack Obama and the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as well as bringing significant national attention to soccer, a sport that’s historically struggled to gain a strong following in the United States.

Women’s soccer is doing something right, and it’s about time they received the benefits for their hard work.

SheBelieve’s Game Beyond the Field

It is for these reasons that SheBelieves is desperately important. While women’s sports are often not given the same public credibility or media attention as men’s sports, they are clearly making waves in the industry, which may in itself be the biggest understatement of 2018.

Women’s soccer in general has garnished a copious amount of attention and money, and it still struggles to be taken seriously. The 2018 SheBelieves Cup will hopefully bring more attention to the world of women’s soccer and more fire in the fight for equality, both in women’s sports and the rest of the world.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Let us know in the comments below!

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