Women's World Cup organizers hope to give surprise bonuses -- possibly between $25,000 and $50,000 per player -- to the 20 members of the U.S. women's national soccer team as a reward for their work during the tournament.
"It's only right," Women's World Cup Chair Donna de Varona said. "We are looking at what's fair. We have to look at our numbers."
The U.S. team members already were guaranteed approximately $12,500 each from the U.S. Soccer Federation for their victory over China in today's final (a lump sum of $250,000 is given to the team to divide as it wishes). Had the U.S. team lost, it would have received $150,000, or $7,500 per player.
The USSF bonuses pale in comparison to the $380,000 in bonuses each player on the U.S. men's team would have received for winning the 1998 men's World Cup in France. The Women's World Cup organizers made an earlier attempt to rectify the discrepancy by promising the U.S. players a lump sum payment of between $1,875 and $7,500 each, depending upon experience, for their participation in the tournament.
Women's World Cup tournament organizers, however, wanted to do more.
Women's World Cup Chief Executive Officer and President Marla Messing is in favor of the bonuses, but it could take weeks to determine how much money is left to divvy among the players. The phenomenal success of the tournament, which drew 650,000 fans for 17 dates, would ensure a slim profit on the budget of about $30 million. Organizers had intended to give all the profits to the U.S. Soccer Federation, but decided that since the U.S. women had done so much to enhance the tournament they each deserved a cut.
Pursuing Another Cup
The U.S. Soccer Federation intends to make a bid to hold the 2007 Women's World Cup in the United States, according to a source. Australia, the host of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, is the favorite to host the next Women's World Cup in 2003. "We would take it any time," De Varona said. "It's up to FIFA. [FIFA President] Sepp Blatter is smart enough to know that this is a great market for women's soccer." . . .
Besides President Clinton, a number of celebrities showed up for today's matches. Among the famous in the crowd: actress Melanie Griffith and her husband, Antonio Banderas; Peter Berg, Elisabeth Shue, k.d. lang, Jennifer Lopez and Hanson, which sang the U.S. national anthem. Bob Hope and Geena Davis also made ticket requests.
The U.S. players received a good-luck fax Friday night from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.
A Fall Visit to Washington
Members of the U.S. championship team will travel to MCI Center on Nov. 20 as part of an indoor soccer tour.
The All-American Soccer Stars vs. The World is scheduled to feature a number of the Women's World Cup stars, including forward Mia Hamm, goalkeeper Briana Scurry and defender Brandi Chastain.
Tickets for the event go on sale Monday through TicketMaster.
Also highlighting the tour are national team members Julie Foudy, Carla Overbeck, Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett, Tisha Venturini and Joy Fawcett.
CAPTION: Members of the U.S. team raise the World Cup trophy and indicate where they stand after the victory over China.