It's about damn time.
You would think being on the baddest and most successful soccer team in the world (alongside the swoonworthy Megan Rapinoe) would grant you equal pay but non-male athletes continue to get shafted across the board. It looks like the U.S. Women’s Soccer team, though, will begin to see the fruits of their labor.
For the first time in history, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA), and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) have agreed to the terms of a community benefits agreement (CBA) that achieves "equal pay and set the global standard moving forward in international soccer." This agreement equalizes FIFA World Cup Prize money and levels the stakes of access for players as a whole.
“This is a truly historic moment. In becoming the first federation in the world to solve the massive and vexing challenge of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money, U.S. Soccer and our players have changed the game forever here at home, with the hopes of inspiring change around the world,” says U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone in a statement on Wednesday.
This history-changing decision comes on the heels of a years-long fight for equal pay and access. I what ended up being a 6-year legal battle, the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) sued U.S. Soccer in a gender discrimination lawsuit that recently ended with a $24 million dollar settlement for disputes. The USWNT has won four world cups in its 20-year franchise all while being underpaid in comparison to the men's team.
The historic equity agreement encompasses areas such as child care, parental leave (both maternal and paternal), short-term disability, mental health impairment, travel, and equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces, according to the statement. U.S. Soccer will also share a portion of its "broadcast, partner and sponsorship revenue with a 50/50 split of that share divided equally between USWNT and USMNT." These shifts will rectify years of revenue imbalance and improper coverage of USWNT games finally making them more accessible to the general public.
"We hope that this agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for 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 United States and abroad," said USWNT player and USWNTPA president Becky Sauerbrunn.
Those sentiments of hope and respect to sports leagues across the country to taking the bold steps toward pay equity and dignity that the US and USWNT franchises have taken after years of advocacy and internal organizing. You hear that, NBA?