U.S. women’s soccer team settles equal pay lawsuit


Image retrieved from CBSsports.com.

Jack O, Sports Reporter

On Feb. 22, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) reached a 24 million dollar settlement with United States Soccer Federation (USSF). This settlement also agrees to pay both the men’s and women’s teams equally.  

While this number fell short of their original $67 million it is still a big deal for United States’ sports. 

“This is going to be one of those incredible moments that we look back on and say the game changed forever, U.S. Soccer changed forever, and the landscape of soccer in this country and the world changed forever because of this,” said Megan Rapinoe, one of the players who led the suit. 

$22 million will go to the 28 players who originally filed the lawsuit and the remaining $2 million will go towards establishing a charitable fund benefiting women’s and girls’ soccer in the US.  

This settlement ends a three-year battle that started in 2019 when the USWNT filed its original lawsuit against USSF for gender discrimination. The lawsuit was filed under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The players accuse the national federation of paying lower salaries to women and subjecting them to more dangerous playing conditions than their male counterparts.  

The USWNT is a successful team on the world stage. In 2019 they won their fourth world cup and second consecutive. The 28 players who filed the lawsuit have won three world cups.  

The men, as of late, have not been as successful having failed to qualify for the 2018 world cup. The men’s team also has not won a world cup in the time that the women’s have won three. In some periods, the women brought in more revenue than their male counterparts. The men were still given more money bonuses for games played in the World Cup, even when they did not make it, their bonuses were still worth more than the women’s. 

The settlement process was easier since the president of the USSF when the lawsuit was initially filed reassigned and the new president, Cindy Parlow Cone, was a former USWNT player. The reason for the resignation of the previous president, Carlos Cordeiro, was his comments on the skill level of male and female players claiming that the job of a men’s national team player requires a higher level of skill and ability than the job of a women’s national team player.  

Cone looks forward to repairing the relationship between the USSF and USWNT.  

“I did think we would get to this point, 100%. I did think we would win all along in this. This is a win for us. And this is a win for the players for the next generation, for women’s players around the world,” said Rapinoe.  

This settlement is only contingent upon the negotiating of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). “I continue to be optimistic that we are going to get this done and like Megan says, I think this is a win for U.S. soccer, so win for women’s team sports and women in general,” said Cone. 

 “We have a lot of work to do and are continuing to rebuild the relationship with the players,” said Cone. “We have to come to a solution on the CBA agreements. But the focus now shifts to growing the game.” 

U.S. Soccer is unique in that the women’s team is as or even more popular than their male counterparts. Both teams have 2.1 million followers on Instagram, whereas the National Basketball Association (NBA) has 64.9 million followers and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has 1.2 million.  

“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, ” said Rapinoe.