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Ali Riley is grateful for all that football has given her on and off the field, but the captain of Angel City FC and the New Zealand Women’s National Team says a beautiful game is next as interest and support continue to grow. I’m even more excited about what it brings to the generation. From investors, brands, fans and media.

But the fight for equality isn’t over yet.

“I hope women’s sports go in a direction where they don’t feel the need to make more money (other than their paychecks),” Riley says. In the future, I hope to make enough money to invest in companies that are doing good things.

“I’ve worked really hard to get to this position, so I wouldn’t say I’m lucky, but I have the privilege of being able to choose people to work with. I save money and play football and it’s good. With the platform I have, I can lead by example and the legacy I leave behind will impact as many people as possible in a positive way during my life. I think it’s really important to be able to do that through the partnerships that I have and the message that I’m sending out to the world, but it’s hard, so I think it’s important for female athletes. I really hope it develops.

NWSL players like Sidney Leroux revealing he spent more money on childcare in a year than he earned as a professional soccer player in the NWSL; Unfortunately, the scales still lean heavily toward men’s sports from the USWNT’s fight for equal pay against apparent disparities in resources and facilities in the United States.

In January 2022, the NWSL and the NWSL Players Association agreed to a first-ever collective bargaining agreement. This is a groundbreaking deal that introduces player free agency, higher salaries with annual salary increases through 2026, and other health and wellness benefits. Despite improvements, disparities still exist. —Under the new CBA, the minimum wage has been raised from $22,000 in 2021 to $35,000 in 2022, while the minimum wage in Major League Soccer is $84,000 for senior players and $65,500 for reserve players.

“I think we’re making great progress,” says Riley, who has played in New York, Sweden, England, Germany, Orlando and Los Angeles. “It’s easy and tempting to get bogged down by inequalities and what we need to do and what we want for our children, but it helps us understand how far we’ve come. I’m still glad I got to play to experience this — live it and finalize my current audience, engagement, sponsorship and media coverage compared to 5, 10 years ago. I am enjoying the benefits that I have gained.”

With additional franchises in Boston, San Francisco Bay Area and Utah starting in 2024, the NWSL reportedly welcomed a record-breaking over 1 million fans to its games during the 2022 season. 915,000 — viewership he has increased 71% since his 2021 final.

With a Hollywood-worthy star-studded investment group, the club includes Riley’s Angel City FC, with investments from big names in and around sports including Eli Manning, Sue Bird, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Oscar de la Hoya. supported by an increase in and Dominic Dawes.

Brands such as Ally, P&G, Budweiser, Nike, Verizon and MasterCard are also pouring lip money into helping their leagues and games grow.

Tovala, a WiFi-enabled smart countertop oven and ready-made meal kit delivery service, enters the space for the first time through a partnership with Riley, who will represent New Zealand for the fifth time at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia. . New Zealand this summer.

“First of all, I think it’s very important to have the opportunity to partner with brands and make money to supplement your salary,” says Riley, who will release a cookbook later this year. I love to cook, I love to eat healthy and I eat as much plant-based food as possible. Besides just getting groceries, the oven is actually so smart that you just need to scan something, which gives you 20 minutes left to focus on the recovery you need to do more this year. Make a phone call or have a meeting with the national team.”

2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Kicking off on 20th July and running until 20th August, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the first to feature 32 nations.

Starting with 12 teams in 1991, the tournament grew to 16 countries in 1999 and expanded to 24 countries in 2015.

The growth in tournaments and demand for tickets (over 500,000 tickets sold as of mid-January) is another testament to the increasing popularity of the women’s game.

Riley, who has 150 caps with the Football Ferns, hopes this summer’s tournament will lay the groundwork for growing his game.

“This is a huge opportunity, and I feel a responsibility to make sure I don’t miss it,” she says. “Beyond Greatness fits the slogan. For me yes, I have football ambitions. I want to make history by winning my first World Cup match. I want to get out of the group. , but our success is so closely tied to growing the game and inspiring people, it’s a lot of pressure. I hope many little girls will come to play. This is our chance.

“I think having played in America, I know the growth here and what the U.S. Women’s National Team is doing. They really set the standard. But this could be a starting point and we will start a trend in that direction.Being involved in Angel City in the NWSL surrounded by USWNT players and taking leadership of the New Zealand national team in this We are very fortunate to be able to host the World Cup.

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