US Soccer agrees landmark CBAs, equal pay between men’s and women’s team
Soccer - 18 May 2022
The US Soccer Federation (US Soccer) has agreed to landmark collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with its men’s and women’s senior national teams, which will see both sets of players united under similar contract terms while solidifying equal pay for the world-champion women’s side.
The new CBAs, which were announced today (May 18) and run through 2028, have already been approved by US Soccer’s board of directors and ratified by the USWNTPA and USNSTPA, the women's and men's players' unions, respectively.
They include a unique provision that combines and splits World Cup prize money awarded by world governing body FIFA evenly between the teams, making US Soccer the first federation in the world to equalize prize money.
The provision was a key part of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) equal pay pursuit and was formed after the women’s team was given $4 million for winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup, while a first-round exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia would have raised $8 million for the men’s team had they qualified.
The 2018 men's World Cup champions France were awarded $38 million, more than the entire prize pool for the 24 women’s teams for their World Cup in 2019.
Cindy Parlow Cone, USSF president and former player for the USWNT, said: “This is a truly historic moment. These agreements have changed the game forever here in the US and have the potential to change the game around the world.
“US Soccer and the USWNT and the US Men’s National Team have reset their relationship with these new agreements and are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the preeminent sport in the US.”
As part of the agreement, US Soccer will also share a portion of its broadcast, ticketing, partner, and sponsorship revenue, which will be divided equally between the women’s and men’s teams.
The CBAs provide for equal match appearance and performance fees for both official competitions and friendlies. Prize money for non-World Cup tournaments, including the men’s Concacaf Gold Cup and the region’s women’s championship, will also be combined and split when both sides participate.
The federation also agreed to provide match venues, fields, accommodations, support, and staffing of equal quality and comparable cost to both teams, as well as the same number of charter flights.
Some USWNT players will also be given health and short-term disability insurance, as well as parental leave.
Becky Sauerbrunn, president of the USWNTPA, said: “The gains we have been able to achieve are both because of the strong foundation laid by the generations of WNT players that came before the current team and through our union’s recent collaboration with our counterparts at the USNSTPA and leadership at US Soccer.
“We hope this agreement and its historic achievements is not only providing 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 US and abroad.”
The agreements end several years of litigation and negotiation that started when the USWNT filed a gender discrimination suit against US Soccer in 2019 seeking improved working conditions and $66 million in back pay and damages.
The case was firstly dismissed, then appealed, and finally settled in February when US Soccer agreed to pay USWNT $24 million.
That agreement was contingent on the finalization of new CBAs that cemented pay parity between the two national teams.
The women’s CBA expired at the end of 2021 and was extended through March, while the men’s national team have been playing under terms of its previous contract which expired in 2018.