American Football Hall of Fame inductees hail equal pay deal






PICTURES | TONY GUTIERREZ
National Football Hall of Fame inductee Shannon Boxx delivers her induction speech Saturday in Frisco, Texas. Boxx was among several inductees to applaud the equal pay agreement between US Soccer and players under which the men’s and women’s national teams will be compensated equally.

Frisco, Texas. – Shannon Boxx, Christie Pearce Rampone and Linda Hamilton all celebrated last week’s historic equal pay deal with US Soccer as the three women were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“As the Women’s National Team, we always knew we had a bigger responsibility than just winning games. The most recent contract is a testament to the work done by past and current players off the pitch, Boxx said. “As a black athlete, I also felt the responsibility for every young black girl and boy who sits in the stands or watches television.”

Clint Dempsey, Marco Etcheverry and Esse Baharmast were also inducted during the Hall of Fame ceremony at Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas.

American Football announced earlier last week that it had reached collective bargaining agreements with the men’s and women’s teams to equalize their pay going forward. The two teams have agreed to share the World Cup prize money.

“The history lesson of this is that a few days ago there was this equal pay (agreement), but maybe some of you don’t really know where we started. When we won the World Cup in 1991, we were making $15 a day. It was per diem, no salary. No bonus. It was $15 a day,” Hamilton said. “So I think about that And I think we weren’t winning for the money, obviously, but we wanted to be competitors.

Dempsey, the three-time U.S. Soccer Federation Player of the Year, is tied with Landon Donovan for the U.S. record 57 international goals. Donovan made 141 appearances for the national team from 2004 to 2017. He played for New England (2004-06), Fulham (2017-12), Tottenham (2012-13) and Seattle (2013-18), and his 82nd-minute chip against Juventus put Fulham through to the 2010 Europa League quarter-finals.

Dempsey sobbed as he thanked his parents for launching his career.

“Anything is possible, because if you look at where I’m from, I wasn’t supposed to make it and thanks to madness, my parents were able to fight against the odds,” Dempsey said.

Former USA goalkeeper Hope Solo was voted into this year’s class but announced last month that she would delay her induction for a year while she participates in an inpatient treatment program following of his arrest for impaired driving in late March.

Boxx was a midfielder who scored 27 goals in 195 international appearances from 2003-15. She is one of three women who played in all three seasons of the Women’s United Soccer Association and Women’s Professional Soccer and the first three seasons of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Rampone, a defender, won three Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles in a career that spanned three decades. She was originally elected to the Hall of Fame last year, but postponed her induction to this season in reaction to a series of scandals in the NWSL.

“I can truly say that I was surrounded by powerful women who knew we had to make sacrifices to provide greater opportunities for future generations,” Rampone said. “Seeing the growth of the team over the years and the opportunities for the younger generation is truly one of the most rewarding parts of the journey.”

Hamilton, elected by veterans ballot, was part of the United States champion team at the 1991 Women’s World Cup and made 71 international appearances from 1987 to 1995.
Etcheverry, also a veteran pick, was a three-time Major League Soccer champion with DC United from 1996-2003 and was voted league MVP in 1998. He scored 13 goals in 71 appearances for Bolivia from 1989-2003 .

Baharmast, elected in the constructors’ ballot, was a referee in MLS and officiated matches between Spain and Nigeria, and Brazil and Norway at the 1998 World Cup.

Dempsey received 97.9% from the Player Voting Committee, followed by Boxx at 91.7%, Solo at 81.3%.

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