'It's not fair': Sydney FC star exposes shocking double standard

Ally Green says much more needs to be done to make women's football a viable profession.
Sydney FC's Ally Green believes her male counterparts would struggle to perform at their best if they had to play under the same conditions as the A-League Women's players do. Pictures: Getty Images/Yahoo Australia

Sydney FC's Ally Green is all too aware she's not on a level playing field when it comes to living life as a professional footballer.

It should come as no surprise that Green and every other A-League Women's player raises an eyebrow whenever a highly-rated male footballing prospect is handed a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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It's a literal fortune compared to the $16,500 minimum wage Green and the rest of the A-League Women's league earn for their six-month season.

That's despite doing the same amount of training, the same amount of time in the gym, the time spent studying opponents before every game.

Male players are recruited to do so full time - but for Green and her colleagues, they juggle it around full-time work and frequently, shorter seasons which offer less time for recovery between games.

"I would love to see the men go in our schedule - it would probably benefit us," Green told Yahoo Sport Australia for the Mind Games series.

"Because they would quickly realise how tough that is.

"They would be exhausted. They would absolutely not be able to play to the best of their ability, and that's what we're expected to do."

Where their male counterparts have ample time during the day to concentrate on rest and recovery, Green says after waking at 4:30am for a 6am training session, most of her teammates then have to rush off to work.

The early training sessions are purely to accomodate for this.

The 23-year-old said there had been times where the gruelling schedule, combined with the relatively meagre minimum salary offered compared to the riches offered to teenage male counterparts, had led her to question her desire to remain in the A-League.

"There's boys coming in here earning quadruple what we are," Green said.

"We've fought since the start of the A-League women's, 10 years of fighting for this minimum wage and it's still not what we deserve. I would have stopped by now if I still didn't enjoy it."

Ally Green's passion for football clashes with A-League pay obstacles

Green recalled a derby against Western Sydney a few years ago, in which an injury and a brutal 5-0 loss left her questioning her place in football.

Battling family issues off-field, Green said it had taken her several years to realise it wasn't just the pressure she was facing in that moment that had gotten the best of her.

As she has grown more experienced, she realised the sheer physical stress she was subjecting herself to was finally taking its toll.

"I remember just sitting down at half-time and I bawled my eyes out. I've never cried that much in my life, and it all came tumbling down on me at once," she said.

"It wasn't until I reflect on it a few years later that I realise it wasn't just what happened in the game, it was everything that was happening in my life and also the pure exhaustion.

"The training loads, early starts, long days, maintaining a career outside of football.

"It was a time where I really reflected and asked 'Am I still enjoying this? Is it really worth it?'"

Ally Green was responsible for one of the highlights of the A-League Women's decider last season with a spectacular strike against Canberra. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Ally Green was responsible for one of the highlights of the A-League Women's decider last season with a spectacular strike against Canberra. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Green is worried that the massive disparity between men's and women's players will continue to dissuade female players to chase their dreams.

She said the fight for fair pay is far from over.

"We're not earning anywhere near what we could or should be," she said.

"You forget there are 18-year-old men coming in and earning $200,000 on their first year contract.

"There's still such a big gap to what men earn on those contracts, it's not fair.

"We have come a very long way, and credit to the girls who had to fight to get even $100 a game.

"They've paved the way for the current generation, but there's so much we can improve on for the next generation."

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