Women Soccer Equal Pay

The U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Women’s National Team have reached a historic agreement in the equal pay lawsuit, which was filed years ago. The lawsuit in question, which was pending since March of 2019, was filed on international Women’s Day by athletes on the world champion U.S. Women’s National Team against USSF for gender discrimination. The lawsuit criticized the sport’s governing body for allegedly paying little attention to gender equality and paying men’s teams better. “We cannot go back and undo the injustices we have faced. The only justice coming out of this is that we know that something like this is never going to happen again, and we can move forward in making soccer the best sport that we can in this country and setting up the next generation so much better than we ever had it,” Megan Rapinoe said to “Good Morning America.” 

While the lawsuit was filed in 2019, the fight for equal rights within the USWNT has been years in the making. In 2016, a group of players filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the USWNT over inequality in pay and treatment. The following year, the women’s team reached an agreement with the USSF for the EEOC complaint. The agreement included direct pay increases, per diems equal to the men, and according to ESPNW, improved travel and financial support for pregnant players or players looking to adopt children. While the improvement was a breath of fresh air, it was still unequal.  

The equal pay lawsuit came three months before USWNT prepared to defend its title at the FIFA World Cup in France. Along with pay disparities, the suit also cited the denial of “at least equal paying, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment.” 

ABC News states that the USSF will have to pay $22 million to the players in the case, according to the settlement. This will then be distributed by the USWNT players and approved by the district court. The USSF will also have to pay an additional $2 million into an account to benefit the USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girl’s soccer. According to the settlement, each player will be able to apply for up to $50,000 from this fund.  

After reaching the settlement, Cindy Parlow Cone, President of USSF, told “GMA,” “We are focused on moving the game forward. So, this is actually a great transition moment. We still have a lot of work to do with repairing the relationship with our players, but we are on the road to that. Looking forward, they are not only the best players in the world, but they are also great ambassadors for our sport.”