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US women’s soccer team to receive equal pay in landmark agreement

“To be able to say finally, equal pay for equal work feels very, very good,” women’s soccer player Becky Sauerbrunn told TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

The U.S. women’s national soccer team has notched another huge win.

U.S. Soccer, along with the unions for the men’s and women’s national teams, has announced it has reached a new collective bargaining agreement, in which every man and woman who plays will receive equal pay, TODAY reported exclusively on Wednesday. The squads will also divide World Cup prize money, the first soccer federation to do that.

“I am feeling extreme pride. And to be able to say finally, equal pay for equal work feels very, very good,” women’s soccer player Becky Sauerbrunn told TODAY.

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Megan Rapinoe is one of the players who have been fighting for equal pay.Elsa / Getty Images

It's equalization of World Cup prize money, identical financial terms, including identical game payments, identical revenue sharing for both teams, so identical in every aspect on that front,” U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone told TODAY.

The players will also divide equally any money U.S. Soccer generates commercially and at events.

Sauerbrunn says the move is long overdue.

It’s tough to get so, so excited about something that we really should have had all along,” she said.

Sauerbrunn joined four teammates in filing a federal wage complaint in 2016. 

“The pay disparity between the men and women is just too large,” star Carli Lloyd told TODAY at the time.

The movement picked up steam in 2019 when 28 players sued U.S. Soccer before settling earlier this year with the women receiving $22 million in back pay.

“I’m just so proud of the way we stuck together and really just kind of put our foot down. This is a huge win for us,” Megan Rapinoe told TODAY after that news was announced in February.

This new agreement marks a landmark moment in the sport. World Cup prize money will be pooled between the men’s and women’s teams, with players receiving an equal share, making the U.S. the first soccer federation to do that.

To put it into perspective, the men’s World Cup winner in 2018, France, received $38 million, while the U.S. squad got $4 million when the women won the World Cup in 2019. The women's squad has been one of the most successful in the world for years, winning a total of four World Cups.

U.S. Soccer tweeted the historic news on Wednesday morning, announcing that the new collective bargaining agreement “will run through 2028 and achieve true equal pay.”

Cone said the men’s players should also be acknowledged for helping to make this new pay structure happen.

“And I think we need to give the men a lot of credit,” she said. “They came to the table and were very collaborative and worked together with the women’s team first and then came together with U.S. Soccer.”

I think this is going to have international ramifications in sport in general and hopefully into the business world, as well,” she added.