A six-year legal battle for gender pay parity between the United States women’s soccer team and the U.S. Soccer Federation ended with a deal that will split $24 million among the players in back pay bringing an end to years of unequal compensation for the men’s and women’s teams—and the players have also secured a promise that their future pay and bonuses will match the men’s team.
“I think we’re going to look back on this moment and just think, ‘Wow, what an incredible turning point in the history of U.S. Soccer that changed the game and changed the world, really, forever,’” star midfielder Megan Rapinoe said.
The two sides announced a deal early Tuesday that will have players split $22 million, about one-third of what they had sought in damages. U.S. Soccer also agreed to establish a fund with $2 million to benefit the players in their post-soccer careers and charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women.
The proposal went further, with American soccer’s governing body pledging to equalize pay — including World Cup bonuses. It effectively brings to a close the gender discrimination lawsuit players filed in 2019.
However, one more hurdle to cross- Collective bargaining agreement with the players’ unions. Negotiations with the women continue following the Dec. 31 expiration of the last CBA, with a deadline set for March 31.
The settlement was a victory for the women, whose fans chanted “Equal Pay!” when they won their second straight World Cup title in France in 2019.
The agreement was also a success for federation President Cindy Parlow Cone, a former player who became head of the federation in March 2020.
“Now we can start to work with the players in growing this game because not only are they the best players in the world, they’re the best ambassadors for our sport,” Cone said. “I’m so glad we got this done. And I’m so looking forward to just working together and turning the page.”