U.S. Soccer Agrees to Guarantee Equal Pay for Players

Ana Martinez, Online Editor-in-Chief

New collective bargaining agreements by the United States Soccer Federation, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association and the United National Soccer Team Players Association have guaranteed equal pay for all players. 

The terms guarantee that the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams will be paid the same rate for game appearances and tournament victories — a first in international sports history. While countries like Norway and Australia have created equal pay deals for match payments, none besides the U.S. has addressed the team’s total compensation gap.

The deal, running through 2028, puts both men and women on a “pay-for-play” model, a system previously implemented only for the U.S. Men’s National Team. 

In other words, players are paid via match fees: players receive a paycheck for an appearance fee — being called into a game — and a performance bonus — additional money for a win or tie. Previously, USWNT players earned a smaller income from a guaranteed-salary system, money earned through assured salaries and smaller camp fees and bonuses.

Under the terms of the agreement, both men and women will receive a $10,000 bonus for each game they win and $8,000 for being called into a game. The new income doubles fees for USWNT athletes.

Additionally, the men’s and women’s soccer teams must split the prize money earned in large competitions evenly, such as the 2022 and 2023 World Cups.

The bargaining agreements have other benefits, too, such as monetary resources in areas such as child care, short-term disability, mental health impairment, parental leave, travel and equal quality of venues and playing surfaces. Also, the USSF aims to share its broadcast, sponsorship and partner revenue equally between the USWNT and the USMNT.

The decision is a huge step for USSF, which faced a lawsuit by the USWNT for gender discrimination in 2019. As a result of the case, U.S. Soccer paid $22 million to the players involved, as well as an additional $2 million to benefit USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer. Now, however, female soccer athletes will see an even larger increase in their compensation due to the deal.