NWSL salary to more than double for 2017 season
Jeff Plush speaking at the 2017 NWSL College Draft. (Source: Jenny Chuang/VAVEL USA)

According to multiple sources across social media, the minimum salary for players in the National Women’s Soccer League will be raised to around the $15,000 mark. Corey Roepken, a writer for the Houston Chronicle, posted the story yesterday.

Double the salary

The salary increase is huge for the league. This new minimum is more than double what it was at the end of the 2016 season, which was $7,200 - showing more than a 100% increase in minimum salary. With the salary at a minimum of $15,000, all players salaries will fall above the poverty line - which in 2015 was recorded at around $11,000.

When the league began in 2013, the initial starting salary was at a mere $6,000. This significant increase in salary marks the first season where all player salaries fall above the poverty line. In 2015, the poverty line was said to be at about $11,000. The huge increase in salary points to improvements and consistency in the country’s third attempt at a women’s professional league. Both leagues before the NWSL, W-USA and Women’s Professional Soccer, folded after their third season - money being a major issue. In 2016, the NWSL had its fourth season, a first for any women’s professional soccer league in the United States. The league looks towards season number five, kicking off this April.

North Carolina Courage draft picks Darian Jenkins and Ashley Hatch may be receiving around $15,000 as their starting salary. | Source: Jenny Chuang - VAVEL USA

Progress, but still growing

Although doubling the salary minimum is huge for women’s soccer as a whole, there is still quite a ways to go. In the off-season many players pick up second jobs to be able to make enough to get by from year to year, and that will probably continue to be the norm despite the salary increase. During the season, plenty of players cannot afford to live on their own. Most of them opt to share apartments with teammates or live with host families in the area of their respective team throughout the season. 

The third women’s league in the United States just might be working out finally, being backed by not only the United States Soccer Federation, but also Mexico and Canada. The increase of minimum salary also indicates the league’s salary cap, which was at $278,000 for the 2016 season. As long as everything is being monitored carefully, it seems like the NWSL will continue to improve over time.