After what seems like forever, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced last week that it has finally decided to pay the U.S. Men’s National Team and the U.S. Women’s National Team equally after a longstanding pay gap. And now that the ink has dried on the deal, young girls throughout the country can dream big on the soccer field, knowing they now have the same opportunities as the young boys in their neighborhoods and schools.
The Long Road to the Deal
Proponents of women’s soccer have fought long and hard against the disparity in pay, with a settlement finally reached in February, which said that the two teams would be paid equally in the next union contract, and even offered the women’s team back pay totaling $22MM. The union contracts for both men and women were signed last week.
Becky Sauerbrunn, a player on the women’s team and president of the United States Women’s National Team Players Association, said, “We hope that this Agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for equal pay but also in improving the training and playing environment for national team players will similarly serve as the foundation for continued growth of women’s soccer both in the United States and abroad.”
Negotiations started in earnest six years ago when five of the most well-known women’s soccer players filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accusing the federation of wage discrimination. Some of the best players in the world: Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, and Hope Solo filed on behalf of their teammates and female players around the world.
“That was followed by a lawsuit in 2019, in which the entire USWNT sued for “institutionalized gender discrimination,” citing the pay gap plus a lower standard in playing conditions, from where they played to how they got there.”
And it also meant that, outside of World Cup game play, USWNT players had the opportunity to earn just 89% of what…