Two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe has said she hopes for more investment in the women's domestic league and better pay for club players as well as for the national sides.
Earlier this month, the U.S. National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) announced new compensation guidelines for 2020, including a nearly 20% increase in the overall salary cap as well as allocation money allowing teams to invest in some players above the maximum salary.
However, the funds cannot be used to pay players who are members of the U.S. and Canadian national teams, a move that Rapinoe, a standout for the NWSL's Reign FC, criticised.
"We need to sit down and have more substantive conversations about what that looks like," Rapinoe told Reuters when asked about the allocated fund provisions. "It's going to be a necessary step before the NWSL gets going next year."
The NWSL could not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With a trial date set for May for the U.S. women's national team's gender discrimination lawsuit against their governing body, the squad faces the possibility of a Summer Olympics training schedule clouded by legal issues.
Rapinoe has emerged as a spokesperson for gender equality in sport after the United States' World Cup victory in France this year.
In addition to her outspoken criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump, she also serves as the face of a Budweiser advertising campaign that debuted in the run-up to the NWSL championship last month.
While attendances in the league increased to an average of 7,337 per game in 2019, Rapinoe said she is frustrated by the progress made.
"More resources need to be put into the front office of the NWSL," Rapinoe, who has said she would like to compete in the 2023 World Cup before she hangs up her boots, added.
As for her plans after she retires, the 34-year-old said she is focused on creating a pathway toward a role in the business of the NWSL, and is an advocate for a rumoured expansion team in Sacramento, or perhaps even Los Angeles.
"I'd be a great owner," Rapinoe said. "I want to own one of these teams.
"If the only thing that's said about us is how inspiring we are to little girls, then our marketing plan is a complete and utter failure. Make me want to go to the game."