After a years-long struggle for equal pay, US Soccer and the Women’s and Men’s National Teams announced a historic collective bargaining agreement aimed at closing the gender pay gap and ensuring that every player, male or female, be paid in the same way.
The United States Women’s National Team has dominated the soccer world, winning four FIFA Women’s World Cup titles since the competition’s inception in 1991, while fighting for fair pay. During the 2019 World Cup in France, the chants “Equal Pay!” resounded in the stands in support.
The collective bargaining agreement between US Soccer and the men’s and women’s national team unions is the latest step in consolidating the new equal pay policy.
“I feel extremely proud,” U.S. Women’s National Team defender Becky Sauerbrunn said on NBC’s “TODAY” show on Wednesday. “To finally be able to say, equal pay for equal work is very, very good,” she said.
Under the terms, the World Cup prize money will be pooled between the men’s and women’s teams and split equally among all the players – a first in the football federation’s world.
It’s a major victory as 2018 men’s World Cup winner France took home $38 million, while the USA women’s team only took home $4 million for their victory in 2019.
The men’s and women’s teams will also equally share any money US Soccer earns commercially and from events, according to the terms.
“There is equalization of World Cup prize money, identical financial terms, including identical game payments, identical revenue sharing for both teams, so identical in every way on that front,” he said. U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said of the terms.
It comes after star athletes including Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan reached a $24million settlement with US Soccer in February following a lawsuit over unequal pay with players on the men’s team. This settlement depended on the negotiation agreement.
For the women’s team, the announcement is slow in coming.
An EEOC complaint was filed in 2016 by Morgan, Rapinoe, Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo, and Carli Lloyd (Solo and Lloyd are retired), followed by a lawsuit filed by 28 USWNT members in March 2019, citing years of ongoing institutionalized gender discrimination against players in their pay and working conditions.
“US Soccer couldn’t do this alone, and we couldn’t do it,” Cone said, noting that male players and the Men’s Players Association collaborated on the effort.
“I think this is going to have international ramifications in sport in general and hopefully in the business world,” she added.
While the USA women’s team became a global sensation, taking with them a series of impressive medals, the men’s team struggled to bring back World Cup glory. The men’s national team last placed in the tournament in 1930 in third place.
US Soccer said in a statement that the deal runs until 2028 and “will ensure US Soccer’s senior national team players remain among the highest paid in the world.”