Canadian Women’s National Team seeks answers in regards to Coach Morace and compensation

Retaining their coach and receiving compensation they feel they deserve. That’s what the players on the Canadian Women’s National Team want, and they want the two issues resolved in a timely fashion. Head Coach Carolina Morace announced last Friday that she was stepping down after the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Morace, who has been with the team since 2009 and has a contract that runs through the end of the 2012 Olympics, said in an email that, “The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) has a strategy to achieve their goals that differs from my strategy.”

The Canadian Women’s National Team is prepared to do whatever it takes to get its coach back and to get the money it feels it deserves. Midfielder Carmelina Moscato said that the team will boycott all international games until the CSA mends its relationship with Morace, ultimately before the team’s first game at the Cyprus Cup (March 2).

“The boycott is in response to Carolina’s announcement last week,” Moscato said. “We know that with Carolina we can succeed. We feel we’re medal contenders at the World Cup with her leading us. She’s the reason we are where we are. The boycott is in support of Carolina. With regards to the boycott, they (CSA) announced tonight that they are trying to get a hold of Carolina. They’re at a point where they are looking to mend the relationship, and at the end of that day, that’s progress. We’ll have to see what comes of it.”

The players also want a contract. In 2009, they presented a proposal to the CSA. That proposal was ignored. Moscato said. At this time, the members of the Canadian Women’s National Team receive no money from the CSA. They receive $18,000 a year from Sport Canada, a government agency, but nothing from the CSA. The men’s team, on the other hand, receives money from the CSA.

“We’re looking for the men’s numbers and to be provided with a stable, long-term contract,” Moscato said, noting that the 25 players as a whole are represented by one lawyer.

The CSA has started to listen, but Moscato said the Association should’ve listened to the team two years ago. The players received an offer from the CSA shortly after they announced their dissatisfaction with the lack of compensation they’ve been receiving.

“Within three days, we had an offer from the CSA that was presented to our lawyer,” Moscato said. “We were waiting for this for two years. In all honesty, the compensation has needed to be addressed for the last 10 years. In 2009, we put a proposal asking for a four-year cycle of what we get per year for standard compensation. The reason we sought legal counsel (now) is that we’re led to believe the men receive compensation. We’re preparing for major tournaments, and therefore have full National Team schedule, naturally more than the men at this time. We want the bottom line to be the same as the men, not a penny more, not a penny less. Going into tournaments, we have no idea what we’re going to receive.”

The players were still negotiating with the CSA during the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers to see how much money they would get following the tournament. The women’s team has an annual budget of $3.1 million, however about half of that budget comes from the Olympic organization Own the Podium. Money to support the U-20 Canadian Women’s National Team and the coaches’ salaries also falls under that $3.1 million budget. What’s left from that money goes to the players, the approximately two dozen players on the full national team.

“Carolina doesn’t have full control over that budget,” Moscato said. “She’s faced with resistance at nearly every request.”

Moscato said that reports that Morace is looking for more money are “not true,” but that she wants control over the money in the budget, to make decisions, and ultimately have the resources in place for the betterment of the team.

“She’s brought us this far, and for her to leave after the World Cup would be devastating and premature to our goals,” Moscato said. “It’s unfortunate it’s come to this, however it’s brought us all closer together. The truth is we love to play for Carolina. We want a medal at the World Cup, and we’re finally demanding respect because we deserve it at this time.”

– Ryan Wood