A Step Toward Equality

U.S Women’s Soccer Team sets precedent for equal pay


Photo taken by Ryan Brown, Flickr

The U.s. Women’s National Soccer Team is demanding equal pay.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The joint agreement was announced on Feb. 22, 2022, stating that both parties have reached a compromise in order to bring equality to soccer. The U.S. Soccer Federation is paying a total sum of $22 million, all of which is going to be distributed to USWNT players, according to espn.com and ussoccer.com. However, the legal battle of equal pay for women’s soccer has been an ongoing case.

The court case began with a federal equal pay complaint in 2016. The complaint was filed by five high-ranking members of the women’s national team, claiming that male soccer players were getting higher pay by thousands of dollars than women soccer players. For example, when the USWNT won the World Cup in 2015, they were paid $2 million. Meanwhile, the men’s team lost the World Cup and still earned $9 million, according to today.com. As the controversy began to grow in popularity, other members of the team began to sign onto the federal pay complaint, according to npr.org.

“The decision to file was wholeheartedly supported by the entire team,” Becky Sauerbrunn, one of the five women to file the complaint, said in an interview with npr.org.

Three years later, 28 players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in March 2019 because of their belief that female players were still getting paid less than men, despite superior performance. The court case was rejected by the federal judge who dismissed the women’s claim that they were paid less for the same working conditions, according to npr.org.

The rejection was met with yet another appeal by the USWNT in July 2021. The new appeal declared that the judge had overlooked rates of pay and the fact that women had to win more often than men to receive bonuses, according to espn.com.

The final settlement falls short of the $66 million that the USWNT fought for. Even still, the agreement gives the team a victory and serves as significant progress in pay for women’s sport teams, according to npr.org.

“[We] have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer,” the joint statement on the settlement agreement said, according to ussoccer.com. “The U.S. Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes. 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.”