On Monday night, Dec.11, U.S. Soccer surprised its fans with brand new media handles on both Twitter and Instagram. Anything U.S. Soccer-related can now be found under one page, whereas the men’s and women’s teams are identified with the acronyms WNT (Women’s National Team) and MNT (Men’s National Team). While there are other specific accounts as well, such as for youth teams and coaches, fans are seemingly more excited about the gender inclusive handles. What may seem like a simple change to the rest of the online world is actually a major step towards improvement to those who have fought for this kind of equality in U.S.

Soccer for so long.

What's new about U.S. Soccer

Aside from making a huge step towards equality, there are now other accounts that represent growth in U.S. Soccer. In a follow-up tweet, the federation provided names of teams and organizations that are also a part of U.S. Soccer.

Now, fans can keep themselves updated on the youth team, development academies, coaches, referees, and even the Spanish version of the original U.S.

Soccer page. However, while these accounts prove to be just as important as the national teams, it's clear that most fans diverted their attention to the gender-inclusive handles. For many, this change is not only a sign of improvement but carries a huge impact.

Why the change is important

Since U.S. Soccer has carried the weight of the men’s national team and the federation under one name for so long, it has become normal to simply associate the two without even thinking of the women’s team.

However, new media handles changes that. With two separate accounts, the idea of men dominating both the sport and federation is no longer normalized. Instead, it gives equal recognition to both teams rather than one.

The new media handles represent a small step towards equality of the women in soccer, one that can hopefully have an effect on other soccer federations around the world.

It’s been a step many fans have been pushing for since players of the U.S. Women’s National Team called out U.S. Soccer for its discriminating wage-gap in 2016, almost a year after their World Cup victory in Canada.

Since then, other problems have risen for the women, such as the continuous equal pay lawsuits and constant overshadowing of the men (this happened when the U.S. Men's National Team failed to qualify for the World Cup back in October, in which articles stated the entire federation needed fixing without realizing that the women are also part of U.S. Soccer and are ranked higher than the men), however this sudden and much-needed change of equal, online recognition marks a simple triumph in their long journey towards equality.

Now, the U.S. Women's National Team won't get pushed behind the men's team, nor will they be covered less. Instead, after years of discrimination, these new media handles will set the men's and women's teams side by side as equals.

Despite the positive remarks U.S. Soccer has received about the surprise change, it doesn't mean that everything remotely deemed unequal is fixed.

This is still much more to accomplish in order to get women's soccer - in and out of the U.S. - seen and supported as equally as men's soccer. Until then, separate media handles stand as merely a sign that the game is finally changing.