U.S. Soccer Federation Reaches Deal with Unions for Equal Pay for Men, Women’s Teams

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday morning it has reached a deal with unions for its men and women’s teams to provide equal pay for all players. 

The deal makes the U.S. national governing body the first in the sport to promise equal pay for both sexes, Just the News reports

The federation said the deal occurred with separate collective bargaining agreements through December of 2028.

Indeed, men’s soccer players have been playing under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement that expired in December of 2018. The women’s agreement expired at the end of March, but talks continued after the federation and players agreed to settle a 2019 gender discrimination lawsuit. 

The settlement was contingent on the federation agreeing to labor contracts that also made bonus payments equal for all players.

“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,” U.S. forward Margaret Purce said, per NBC Washington. “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.”

As part of the settlement, players will split $22 million, about one-third of what they had sought in damages. The U.S. Soccer Federation 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.

Mark Levinstein, counsel for the men’s union, said the agreement ended “more than 20 years of federation discrimination against the [U.S. Women’s National Team] players.”

“Together with the USWNTPA, the USMNT players achieved what everyone said was impossible — an agreement that provides fair compensation to the USMNT players and equal pay and equal working conditions to the USWNT players,” he said. “The new federation leadership should get tremendous credit for working with the players to achieve these agreements.”