US Women’s Soccer Team Settles Equal Pay Lawsuit for $22 Million
The US Women’s National Team has reached a settlement in its long-running equal pay lawsuit.
The US Soccer Federation has agreed to pay $22 million in back pay to players.
The deal is contingent upon both sides reaching terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The US Women’s National Team has reached a deal to end its long-running and much-discussed equal pay lawsuit.
The US Soccer Federation (USSF) — the country’s governing body for the sport — has agreed to pay the USWNT players $22 million in back pay after 28 athletes sued the federation for pay discrimination in 2019, and filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) three years before that.
Players will also receive a portion of a $2 million pot intended “to benefit the USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer,” USSF announced in a release.
“Getting to this day has not been easy,” the players and federation said in a joint statement. “The US Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes.”
“Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow,” they added. “Together, we dedicate this moment to them.”
Tuesday’s agreement is contingent upon both parties reaching terms on the USWNT’s upcoming collective bargaining agreement (CBA). At present, the players and federation are operating under a memorandum of understanding, which extends the previous CBA through the end of March 2022.
The equal pay litigation will officially draw to a close once the next CBA is ratified.
Though the players and federation have not yet solidified every aspect of the agreement, USSF has committed to paying its men’s and women’s teams equally for friendly matches, tournament games, and World Cup competitions going forward.
USWNT players first began their fight against the federation in 2016, when a handful of the team’s athletes filed a complaint with the EEOC. The dispute escalated from there, and just before the 2019 World Cup a whopping 28 players on the USWNT’s roster filed a lawsuit against US Soccer.
The players initially sought a summary judgment for $67 million in back pay, which their lawyers argued was commensurate with the amount they would have been compensated had they been given the rate “set forth in the USMNT CBA.”
And even though the players wound up with a drastically reduced sum in Tuesday’s settlement, USWNT superstars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan expressed enthusiasm about the agreement during an appearance on Good Morning America.
“It’s a good day,” Rapinoe said. “I’m just so proud, to be honest. I’m so proud of all the hard work that all of us did to get us here … It’s a really amazing day. I think we’re going to look back on this day and say this is the moment that, you know, US Soccer changed for the better.”
“It really is,” she said. “This is just such a monumental step forward in feeling valued, feeling respected, and just mending our relationship with US Soccer that’s really been full of tension and very far apart from each other for about six years now.”
“I not only see this as a win for our team or women’s sports, but women in general.”