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The collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Soccer and the United States women's national team has expired, with neither side indicating that a new deal is close. The team will play in the SheBelieves Cup in March -- their contract requires a 60-day notice to strike -- but their future after that is up in the air.
And a strike certainly isn't impossible. Speaking to The Guardian, Alex Morgan said that USWNT players are willing to strike if they feel it's necessary. We recommend reading the entire interview -- there's good stuff in there that isn't specifically about the USWNT CBA -- but here are the important bits on that issue.
"It's necessary for change sometimes. It wouldn't be the first time women decided to strike ... To force a change sometimes you need to stand up. You know what you're worth -- rather than what your employer is paying you. We're not scared. To move the women's game ahead we need to do what's necessary ... But the fight is about receiving equitable treatment -- not just pay. Our CBA ended last month so right now we're locked with the status quo. Neither US Soccer nor us have submitted anything that says they'll lock us out or that we will strike. We're hoping to reach agreement -- but there eventually needs to be pressure from one side to meet in the middle."
Morgan notes that the players want to get a deal done before the SheBelieves Cup so they can focus on their play on the field. And while Morgan is currently at Olympique Lyonnais in France, most of her national teammates are scheduled to play in NWSL starting this April.
And the USWNT players' union is taking steps to get things moving. They fired their very aggressive and high-profile lawyer in December, and they've recently made another change at the negotiating table. Carli Lloyd revealed over the weekend that she's stepped back from an official leadership role due to personal time commitments, allowing other players to take the lead in negotiating.
Scary interview of the day
Here's Antonio Conte saying he'd kill a player for not giving 100 percent effort. He does not laugh when he says this. (@hazardedition)
It's worrying how he doesn't even smile when he says "I prefer to kill him" man is dead serious pic.twitter.com/SFoq9mm4fW— ️ (@HazardEdition) January 16, 2017
In the news
Speaking of, Tianjin Quanjian's owner admits his team can't sign Diego Costa anymore. (Sky Sports)
Juventus totally scrapped their old crest and got a new minimalist logo. It's not going over well.
The New York Red Bulls stunningly traded their captain Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire. (Hot Time in Old Town)
Louis van Gaal has retired. Well, bye. (Guardian)
Martin Olsson has moved to Swansea from Norwich. (Swansea City FC)
The English FA is considering retroactive diving bans. (BBC)
Alexis Sanchez has plead guilty to tax fraud. He won't go to jail. (ESPN FC)
Arjen Robben has signed a one-year extension to play for Bayern Munich next season. (Bild)
Here are Real Madrid's leaked kits. It's a lot of teal. (AS)
You should be reading
C.M. Brandon on Shakhtar and Croatia legend Darijo Srna, who keeps finding something more to give. (Unusual Efforts)
Tony Evans on Manchester City's flaws and Pep Guardiola struggling to fix them. (ESPN FC)
James Bridget Gordon on the Joel Matip mess. (Paste)
What happened on Monday
Milan and Torino played a wild match that helped neither of them. (AC Milan Offside)
What to watch on Tuesday (click for listings, all times ET)
FA Cup: 6 games (2:45 p.m.) -- A bunch of third-round replays.
Africa Cup of Nations: 2 games (from 11 a.m.) -- Both matches should be very watchable. This is the closest thing AFCON has to a group of death.