Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: US women's national soccer team players deserve equal pay

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The members of the U.S. women's national soccer team have a point. When they wear the red, white and blue, they should receive the same renumeration as their male colleagues.

How do I know? I did a little survey to analyze.

I asked my lovely wife of 30 years, a casual sports fan because of her husband, two questions: Did she know who Clint Dempsey was? Did she know who Abby Wambach was?

The answer to the first question was no, while the answer to the second question was yes. That, my friends, is why the women need to be paid the same.

Soccer diehards can undoubtedly tell you who every player on the men's roster is and where they play in their professional lives. And I am certain that while women's soccer diehards can do the same, the casual fan couldn't.

But it's the casual fan and the families that have propelled women's soccer to an exalted place in the sports hierarchy in America.

The men's national team had a hand in growing the sport in our nation. But I am sure that, assuming teenage boys still put sports posters on their bedroom walls, there are as many Wayne Rooney or Messi posters on the walls of teenage soccer players than there are of Dempsey, Tim Howard or Charlie Davies.

I feel pretty certain that while a few girls might have a Marta poster, the majority have posters of Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo or Meghan Klingenberg.

It's the U.S. women who have really fueled the growth of the women's game in the United States.

It all started with the Mia Hamms, Brianna Scurrys and Julie Foudys, and has grown to include Wambach and the remaining members of the women's team. Without them, the sport of women's soccer might just be a niche sport.

This isn't about the women's pro league vs. MLS or international men's leagues. It's about what the men and women do when they wear the U.S. uniform.

That's why the women deserve equal compensation, and should get it.

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They were co-workers together at St. Lawrence University. So who better to get a scouting report on new Williams football coach Mark Raymond than new UMass hockey coach Greg Carvel.

Carvel, hired last week to replace John Micheletto, followed a similar path to Western Massachusetts that Raymond did when taking the Williams football job in the winter.

"He's a tremendous guy," Carvel said to me without missing a beat. "He's a nuts and bolts, heart and soul [coach]. There's nothing flashy about him. He's just a real good man and I think his players loved playing for him.

"A great demeanor, I thought he was tremendous."

Their sports might be light years apart, but the new UMass hockey coach said that he would consult with the new Williams football coach about coaching.

"We shared a lot of ideas on facilities. We both were trying to build pride in our programs," Carvel said, after Thursday's news conference in Amherst that announced his hiring. "We would bounce ideas off of each other."

Carvel made a mark in 2014-15 when his St. Lawrence team was picked to finish 11th in the ECAC Hockey League and ended up second in the regular season.

Carvel takes the helm of the Good Ship Minuteman as the team ran aground after a season where it won only two Hockey East games in 2015-16. The Minutemen were 2-16-4 in conference play and 8-24-4 overall.

It was a similar situation to the one Raymond inherited when he took over at St. Lawrence.

"He built that program up," said Carvel. "It took a couple of years, but he got that program going. He's a really impressive guy. I love him."

Carvel says Williams fans will love him too, and UMass fans are hoping they'll love Greg Carvel the same way.

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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