US Women’s Soccer Team Scores Equal Pay from US Soccer Federation

Mandy Holmes, Editor

After an almost six-year legal battle, the US Women’s National Soccer Team has finally come to an agreement with the US Soccer Federation. The USWNT has won back $24 million in the settlement, with the promise of equal pay from here on out. The initial complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. 


The USWNT alleged that they were getting paid four times less than the men’s team, despite their superior performance on the pitch. Five-star players for the team filed this complaint, which led to 28 more players suing US Soccer in 2019, alleging the same: that the women players were getting paid significantly less than the male players in every aspect of the sport. In May 2020, a federal judge dismissed the women’s equal pay claim, but several players filed an appeal on this in July 2021. The USWNT and the US Soccer Federation are finalizing the agreement, and a hearing will be held for a district court to approve the settlement. 


In March 2020, during the lawsuit, the former US Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro resigned. He had received backlash after making discriminatory remarks and sexist comments about the women players. Under him, the federation’s legal strategy was arguing that the men deserved more money because if they played against the women, the women would lose. This comparison is unfair and has no value at all, as they don’t play each other. 


Cordeiro’s resignation led to former Vice President of the federation, Cindy Parlow Cone, to replace him. This made her the first woman president of the US Soccer Federation. Cone is a former professional soccer player, achieving two Olympic gold medals and winning the 1999 Fifa Women’s World Cup. Recently, Cordeiro ran again to try and reclaim the presidency, but Cone won. 


When comparing the success of the two teams, it is crazy to think that the men were earning substantially more. The Women’s Team has won four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals. In comparison, the Men’s Team has never won a World Cup and has failed to even qualify in the past three Summer Olympics. 


This agreement is short roughly $66 million from what the players originally sought out for, but is still a significant win.


“We feel like this is a huge win — obviously contingent upon the ratification of the CBA — but it will have equal pay on everything moving forward,” Megan Rapinoe, a key player in the lawsuit battle, told The Athletic. “It’s honestly kind of surreal. I feel like I need to take a step back. We’ve all been in the trenches of it for so long. I think I honestly don’t even understand how monumental this is.”


This accomplishment is major progress for women around the world. This is one step closer to equality in sports and will help with other associations around the world in the future.