Aug. 16, 2008
By Michael Lewis
MORE THAN JUST MEDALS
U.S. women can earn some bonuses
Shanghai, China -- There's Olympic gold and then there's Olympic gold.
By reaching the Olympic semifinals, the U.S. women could wind up earning some extra money and bonuses for their performance.
The Americans, who play Japan in the semifinals at Workers Stadium in Beijing Monday, can earn $50,000 a player if they win a gold medal. A silver medal will mean $20,000 and a bronze would be $10,000. No compensation will be given if the team finishes fourth.
The U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association and U.S. Soccer agreed to a collective bargaining agreement Jan. 4, 2006. The agreement included the 2007 and 2011 Women's World Cups and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The women's third-place and gold-medal matches are at Workers Stadium Thursday.
Top players on the team can earn at least $200,000 a year if they win the Women's World Cup or an Olympic gold-medal (they could get more -- $1,000 a game for each player -- for every international friendly won in a WWC or Olympic year, depending on the number of matches that year).
This made the U.S. Womenís National Team the highest paid women's side in the world.
The American women earned $10,000 for taking third place at last year's WWC.
The highlights of the women's agreement:
* A minimum of 14 players with earn a base salary $70,000 a year. A minimum of six players will make $50,000 a year and up to four more will earn $30,000.
* Players will get $50,000 apiece for finishing first or earning a gold medal in either the WWC or Olympics, $20,000 for second place or a silver medal and $10,000 for a bronze medal.
* If the U.S. wins the WWC or in the Olympics, they will have a 10-game victory or celebration tour in which the 20 players will split $1.2 million ($60,000 per player). If the U.S. finishes second, three games will be played for a total of $3,600 per player. If the Americans take third, a three-game tour will follow, which each performer getting $3,333.
* Each player will receive $10,000 for qualifying for either tournament and another $10,000 if they make the roster.
* Players will make $1,000 per win for all non-World Cup and Olympic games
* Depending on the teamís performance, there will be a minimum increase of 20 percent a year or a maximum hike of 27 percent.
* There also will be a housing allowance and stipend for moving expenses.
* If the professional women's league returns was launched during the course of the contract, U.S. Soccer would pay a reduced fulltime salary. Women's Professional Soccer is scheduled to begin in seven cities next spring.