U.S. Women’s Nat Players Fire Union Counsel Rich Nichols

Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times (via Getty Images)

by TOM SLATER

As the labor negotiations — or lack thereof — continue to stall between US Soccer and the Women’s Player Association, the players took a stand yesterday that perhaps should have come a while ago.

The U.S. women’s national team players announced the departure of union counsel Rich Nichols on Wednesday, as the clock continues to tick before the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement with the federation. Nichols has been the association’s lead counsel for two years.

The players association released a statement yesterday.

“We thank Rich for his service, and wish him well. We are focused on productive conversations with U.S. Soccer regarding our future. We are also grateful for the tremendous ongoing support for women’s soccer from all of our beloved fans worldwide, and look forward to seeing everyone over the course of the NWSL season, as well as at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup in March.”

The collective bargaining agreement for the women’s team expired in 2012. In March 2013, representatives for the players and the federation signed a revised memorandum of understanding that extended the collective bargaining agreement through the end of 2016. That comes in three days.

In February, there was talk of the United States women striking in advance of the Rio Olympics. However, that was averted and the Games went on as planned.

In March, five USWNT players — Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe — filed a federal complain accusing US Soccer of wage discrimination