USWNT, U.S. Soccer reach $24M equal pay settlement; Megan Rapinoe says ‘justice comes in the next generation’


U.S. women soccer players reached a landmark agreement with the sport’s American governing body on Tuesday to end a six-year legal battle over equal pay, a deal in which they are promised $24 million plus bonuses that match those of the men. Here’s what to know:

The U.S. Soccer Federation and the women announced a deal Tuesday that will have players split $22 million, about one-third of what they had sought in damages. The USSF 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 USSF committed to providing an equal rate of pay for the women’s and men’s national teams — including World Cup bonuses — subject to collective bargaining agreements with the unions that separately represent the women and men.  

The two parties released a joint statement on the agreement:

“We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer,” the statement read. “Getting to this day has not been easy. The U.S. 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. Together, we dedicate this moment to them. We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe.”

USNWT players react

U.S. women’s national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan joined “CBS Mornings” with Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil and Nate Burleson to react to the news. 

“It’s a little bit surreal to be honest” Rapinoe said. “Obviously, we’ve been in this for a long time and coming from a long history of women that have fought to put this sport in a better place. I’m just incredibly proud of the women on this team and all the women who this lawsuit represents, our greater extended team, lawyers, strategists and media people that helped us. Everybody’s been in our corner the entire time. I think the thing that I look forward to and I’m really proud of is that the justice comes in the next generation never having to go through what we went through. It’s equal pay across the board from here on out. I’m looking forward to growing the sport and have this be a moment we look back on that signals a new U.S. Soccer we can all be proud of.”

As for the $24 million amount, which is noticeably short of the $66 million the women were originally asking for in the lawsuit, Morgan said, “We really got full backpay on everything on non-World Cup bonuses, and I think an important piece of it was equalizing not only the money moving forward but the World Cup bonuses as well, and working with US Soccer and the men’s players association to find a way to equalizer that prize money moving forward. Obviously, we still call on FIFA for that, but this is a huge step and mending that relationship with US Soccer is also a big piece of that, and we feel very comfortable and happy with the moment that we got to right now because it’s a huge win for us, for women’s sports, for women in general. It’s a moment we can all celebrate together right now.”

Deal breakdown

From U.S. Soccer:

  • U.S. Soccer will pay $22 million to the plays in this case.
  • The amount will be distributed in a manner proposed by the players and approved by the district court.
  • USSF will pay $2 million into an account to benefit the players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to soccer.
  • Each player can apply for up to $50,000 from the fund.

When would the deal be fully approved?

  • Final approval of this settlement needs to come from the district court and will be settled once a new CBA is agreed upon and ratified between the USWNT and USSF.
  • Once ratified and there is final approval from the court, the agreement will fully resolve the litigation
  • U.S. Soccer noted that claims related to working conditions were resolved in December of 2020.





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