US Women's Soccer Team Finally Gets Its Equal Pay

US Soccer Federation is first in the sport to promise both sexes matching money
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2022 7:40 AM CDT
US Women's Soccer Team Finally Gets Its Equal Pay
USA teammates Shannon Boxx, second from right, and Christie Rampone, far right, pose with the trophy as the USA team celebrates following their win over Japan at the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015.   (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

The US Soccer Federation reached milestone agreements to pay its men's and women's teams equally, making the American national governing body the first in the sport to promise both sexes matching money. The federation announced separate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that run through December 2028 with the unions for both national teams on Wednesday, ending years of often acrimonious negotiations. Perhaps the biggest sticking point was World Cup prize money, which is based on how far a team advances in the tournament.

While the US women have been successful on the international stage with back-to-back World Cup titles, Sports Illustrated points out that their 2019 Women’s World Cup win netted them $4 million; the men's team didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but had they done so and exited in the first round, they would have received $8 million. The CBAs include what Sports Illustrated calls "an unprecedented provision" to merge and then split the World Cup prize money doled out by FIFA.

The AP has this quote from US forward Margaret Purce: "I feel a lot of pride for the girls who are going to see this growing up, and recognize their value rather than having to fight for it. However, my dad always told me that you don’t get rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to do—and paying men and women equally is what you’re supposed to do. So I’m not giving out any gold stars, but I’m grateful for this accomplishment and for all the people who came together to make it so." Here are some of the terms included in the agreements, per the AP:

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  • World Cup prize money: The unions agreed to pool FIFA's World Cup payments for this year’s men’s World Cup and next year’s Women’s World Cup. US Soccer will take 10% of the money awarded to each team, then split the rest among the 46 players on the teams' rosters—23 men and 23 women. For the 2026 and 2027 tournaments, the USSF will take 20% and split the rest in a similar manner.
  • Olympic prize money: Each player earns a $10,000 per game appearance fee, $12,000 for a win, and $4,000 for a draw. There is a $36,000 bonus for an Olympic gold medal, $24,000 for a silver, and $8,000 for a bronze.
  • Commercial revenue: The women and men will receive commercial revenue from tickets for that team's matches controlled by the USSF, with bonuses for sellouts, and each team will receive a portion of broadcast, partner, and sponsor revenue. Ticket money will be shared $3 per ticket for 2022 and for 2023-26 at the higher of $5.06 per ticket or 10% of the average price if a sellout. The figure increases to $5.75 for 2027-28.
  • Retirement: Players will each get a 401(k) plan and the USSF will match up to 5% of a player’s compensation, subject to IRS limits. That money will be deducted from the shares of commercial revenue.
  • Child care: Child care, covered for women for more than 25 years, will be extended to men during national team training camps and matches.
(More equal pay stories.)

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