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The National Women’s Soccer League is fighting its own pay gap, in part with its #NoMoreSideHustles campaign. (Credit: National Women’s Soccer League Players’ Association – Instagram account)

Women soccer pros are sick of the side gigs.

Players for the National Women’s Soccer League are paid such low salaries — between $22,000 and $52,500 — that they’ve had to take on additional jobs in order to make ends meet. Some work for Amazon, packing boxes. Others donate plasma, or take on receptionist jobs. Many live with host families, as they cannot afford rents on their own.

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By comparison, the minimum salary for Major League Soccer players is presently $70,250 — and after a recent collective bargaining agreement, that will go up to $109,200 in 2024. Talk about a pay gap.

Now, the NWSL is trying the CBA route itself, in a bid to “secure stability, equity, and longevity of a playing career in NWSL for all players,” NWSL Players Association executive director Meghann Burke says. 

Talks began late last year between the association and the league. But to help gain some traction for the movement, the hashtag #NoMoreSideHustles was recently created. Through it, players are sharing their frustrations and taking stands in favor of more equal pay.

“It’s not easy balancing being a pro athlete and taking up multiple side jobs to make a livable wage,” Kat Williamson, former defender for Portland Thorns FC, tweeted. “I cleaned homes for extra money and worked at a dental office as a receptionist. Demand and interest is there in the Women’s game and players deserve fair pay. #NoMoreSideHustles”

The terms of the CBA under discussion have not yet been disclosed, but the goal is clear — to pay players a livable wage. “We saw Liz Shuler from the AFL-CIO comment on social media that one job should be enough, and I think that’s absolutely right,” Burke told CNBC.

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