The United States Women’s National Soccer Team and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) have finally settled the class action lawsuit of equal pay for a total of $24 million.
The players will receive $22 million with the USSF also paying $2 million to benefit the USWNT players. Each player will be able to apply for up to $50,000, as they pursue other avenues after their professional soccer careers to donate towards women and girls’ soccer charitable efforts. The USSF will also provide an equal pay rate for the women’s and men’s national teams in all friendlies and tournaments. This also includes the World Cup, which has been a sensitive touchpoint for the USWNT who have won four World Cups, but still have not been compensated the same as the men’s national team. The men players who made the World Cup team earned $67,000 while women players make $37,500. If the USMNT wins against a team outside the top 25 in FIFA rankings, each player will receive a bonus of $9,375, while a loss will still award them $5,000. For the women, a win against a team outside the top 8 in FIFA rankings will award them $5,250 but earn nothing for a loss. If the men’s team wins the World Cup (which they haven’t), they will be awarded $407,608 each, while the women get $110,00 for actual wins.
“We have a lot of work to do and continuing to rebuild the relationship with the players. We have to come to a solution on the CBA agreements. But the focus now shifts to growing the game from a commercial perspective with our strategic partners, and having the players on our side to go hand in hand and to encourage FIFA to equalize the World Cup prize money.”Cindy Cone: Current US Soccer Federation President
This lawsuit has been a topic of controversial discussion since March 2019 when it was first filed by the 28 USWNT players. Things got progressively worse in March 2020 when a legal filing by USSF reached the public stating, “… do not perform equal work requiring equal skill [and] effort because the overall soccer-playing ability required to compete at the senior men’s national team level is materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes such as speed and strength.” The release of this statement forced past-USSF president Carlos Cordeiro to resign.
The USWNT had originally sought $66.7 million in payback with the lawsuit being dismissed forcing the players to appeal. Now with this settlement, the USSF needs to work on repairing its relationship with the USWNT as they move forward after this prolonged and exhausting lawsuit.
“With the settlement of the working conditions and this settlement which is contingent upon a CBA that will have equal pay going forward, there’s no other way to look at it than just a monumental win for women’s sports and women’s soccer, in particular.”USWNT star Megan Rapinoe
The women’s player union (USWNTPA) stated, “The USWNTPA congratulates the players and their litigation team on their historic success in fighting decades of discrimination perpetrated by the USSF. Although, the settlement reached today is an incredible success, much work remains to be done.”
This settlement is truly historic for all women and women’s sports. It goes to show that speaking up about injustices and demanding change, will most certainly be met with resistance, but continuing to fight for equality will always be worth it. The United States is now a country where men and women are paid equally to play soccer because gender does not determine the amount of hard work and determination that is put in to play the sport. Competing at the national team level requires both women and men to have a significant amount of skill and abilities. Hopefully, this positive forward momentum will continue to benefit women on the field, throughout the sports realm, and also extend into all professional settings.