Maria Sánchez, NWSL
Maria Sánchez signed for the Houston Dash in 2022, yesterday she became the highest-paid player in NWSL history Via

ALABAMA - Monday was a historic day for NWSL and women's soccer in Mexico, as Maria Sánchez became the highest-paid player in the most competitive women's league in the world.

The Mexican-American striker's deal with the Houston Dash eclipsed the previous record, which belonged to Trinity Rodman and took place last year when she signed an extension with the Washington Spirit for $1.1 million.

María Sánchez speaks about her story as a Mexican-American and how Hispanic Heritage Month is important to her. (Via

Sánchez' contract comes just one year after a Collective Bargaining Agreement was finalized between the NWSL Players' Association and the league itself, granting players a more competitive wage structure.

During the 2023 season, the salary cap went up to $1,375,000 per team, a raise of 25% compared to 2022. Minimum salaries also went up by a whooping 60%, with players receiving at least $35,000 including benefits such as free housing, 401(k) matching contributions and health insurance, among other benefits.

These changes have also granted NWSL a huge opportunity to grow as a league and as a business. When Sánchez entered the league in 2019 with the Chicago Red Stars, her income was below the league's minimum of $16,538. Thanks to more fan interest and money coming in, player's salaries have began to increase at a sustained pace.

Maria Sánchez talks about how paying for her parent's mortgage was "a dream come true" (Via The Cooligans on YouTube)

Sánchez is coming off a terrific 2023 season. She captained Mexico to a gold medal at the 2023 Pan American games in Santiago, Chile, scoring four goals in the process and finishing as the top scorer of the competition.

At the club level, she led the Houston Dash in goals and assists with four in each category in their failed bid to qualify to the NWSL playoffs. Sánchez was also one of three Dash players to play in every regular season game last season, starting in 21 of the 22 games.

Although Rodman's and Sánchez' contracts surpass the limit teams are allowed to spend in a year, both deals were possible thanks to the introduction of free agency and allocation money, which allows team to make purchases from the league and spend beyond that $1,375,000 salary cap on transfer fees or additional compensation.

During Sánchez' contract extension announcement, Houston Dash General Manager Alex Singer highlighted the importance that the Mexican striker has with the city of Houston and its community. "Maria's is a difference maker who embodies the ambition our club has - her world class left foot and attacking abilities, her desire to be a champion in Houston, and authentic connection to our community are what makes her a club leader. Signing Maria to this robust, new deal signifies our commitment to investing in infrastructure and talent on the pitch and direction of our club," Singer declared.

During her first season with the Dash in 2022, Sánchez helped the team to their first-ever NWSL playoff appearance.

She now joins Rodman and Portland's Crystal Dunn as the only players in NWSL to have a contract of at least $1 million. "Every club is going to decide how to manage the cap, but I do think you're going to see bigger contracts across the board," Singer added in the press conference.

Maria Sánchez scores a goal vs NWSL's Angel City FC during the 2023 season

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