CLEVELAND — With Wednesday's news that members of the U.S. women's national soccer team will finally receive pay on par with their male counterparts, Stark County native Kerri Sarver got the chance to reflect on her own professional career.
"When I think about how historic it is, I think about how long this fight has been going on," the former Jackson High School All-American told 3News.
She is glad to see women and men finally on a level playing field .
Sarver, now with the Internationals Soccer Club of Northeast Ohio, is also and assistant coach of the New Zealand national team. With earlier experience at the high school and college levels, she has seen men paid more in those positions, too, and is hoping that will be the next thing to change.
"I've been involved in sports my whole life and involved in fields [where] I've been surrounded by men," she said, noting the disparities exist "for women and men who have the same experience coaching at the same level." "The interesting piece is, sometimes, the women's programs are even more successful."
The U.S. Women's National Team has dominated the soccer world, winning four FIFA Women's World Cup titles since the competition's founding in 1991. Today's historic announcement changes the rules of the game, with women and men getting paid the same for playing the same sport.
Female athletes weren't alone in this fight.
Walker Zimmerman a professional Soccer Player says,
"We also believe so much in the women's team," Nashville SC and men's national team center-back Walker Zimmerman asserted. "We believe in the whole premise of equal pay."
It took an entire year before they could come up with an equal pay agreement, but on this "Field of Dreams," today's victory is "Heaven."
"Fingers crossed that this isn't just about the highest level," she said, "that it really does trickle down to all of us who are working at the grass roots and who are helping pave the way for future generations of these athletes and women in general."