Following years of negotiations, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) has finally reached an agreement with the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) to guarantee “equal pay through identical economic terms” to that of the men’s team, according to a press release. The historic six-year deal makes U.S. soccer “the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money,” meaning all funds will be divided equally among the players of both teams.
“When we got together as a group, certainly we saw that there was not going to be a way forward without the equalization of prize money,” said Walker Zimmerman, a men’s national team defender and member of the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association leadership group. “But it’s something that we all looked at and are extremely proud of: to be the first country that has done this, to equalize, across the board, economic terms and prize money. . . We hope this will awaken others to the need for this type of change, and will inspire FIFA and others around the world to move in the same direction.”
The terms of the agreement take effect this year, extending beyond pay equity alone to include playing fields, training camp facilities, charter flights, travel accommodations, employee hiring practices, and more.
In 2019, over two dozen USWNT players sued the USSF on the grounds of “institutionalized gender discrimination.” They reached a $24 million settlement over the lawsuit earlier this year. The deal was contingent on a new collective bargaining agreement, which has now been made official.
‘It’s hard to get so, so excited about something we should have had all along,” said women’s national team player and USWNTPA president Becky Sauerbrunn. “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.”