A World Cup Champion Also Struggles to Afford Childcare

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Jessica McDonald, World Cup champion for the U.S. Women’s National Team, did a top shelfie for beauty blog and Glossier brainchild Into the Gloss. But while she dutifully laid out her on her beauty arsenal—“Fenty everything” and a small army of acne-fighting skin products—the most revealing moment was when she discussed the struggles of being the only mom on the team.

McDonald broke down how being a professional athlete isn’t without stressors of child care costs (emphasis ours):

I’m the only mom on the national team [USWNT]. And then amongst the National Women’s Soccer League [NWSL], there are seven of us. It’s so hard, oh my God. The best way I can describe it is that it takes a lot of mental toughness. Of my career in the NWSL, I’ve only played one season where I wasn’t a mom. Trying to figure out a routine is probably the hardest thing, and because I got traded a lot, I had to find new babysitters and child care all the time. Child care in particular was very difficult, because it’s expensive and we don’t get paid much. If I put [my son] in a daycare, that’s my entire paycheck, you know?

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Much has been said about the pay discrepancies between women soccer players and men. NPR reported that the salary range for players on the USWNT range from $16,538 to $46,200, while the range for men is far higher. McDonald’s teammate Megan Rapinoe said that going to more league games and buying merch are ways to help support their fight for equal pay. But that takes time, and moms like McDonald need the money to support their families now.

The cost of child care is exorbitant across the board, and despite McDonald’s star status, she’s no exception. But while she hopes for a more equitable financial future, she’s enjoying the time she has to spend with her seven-year-old son, who was her plus one at the EPSY Awards:

Winning the World Cup overwhelmed me with joy. This was my dream, and so for my dream to actually come true... And for my kid to be able to witness that? He’s seven, so he’s at an age where he’s going to remember this. And we’re going to the ESPYs tomorrow—my seven year old is my plus one! What seven year old can be like, ‘yeah, I went to the World Cup final, I got to hold the FIFA World Cup trophy, I know Alex Morgan.’ And so that’s the most important thing to me right now, that he witnesses it all. I want that to inspire him, I want him to know what hard work is going to get him.

Gush.

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About the author

Ashley Reese

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.