May 18, 2022 - Sports

U.S. Soccer reaches landmark equal pay agreement

Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) and Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) of United States celebrate whit her teammates after winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan celebrate after winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match. Photo: Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Soccer Federation reached a historic collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday to pay all national players equally, including at World Cups.

Why it matters: The U.S. women's national soccer team engaged in a yearslong fight with the federation for equal pay. In February, their gender-based pay discrimination lawsuit was settled for $24 million, with the federation promising to equalize pay between men's and women's teams in all competitions.

The big picture: The federation announced separate "first-of-their-kind" collective bargaining agreements for both teams that will run through 2028 and ensure equal pay for all competitions, per the press release.

  • "Under these agreements, U.S. Soccer becomes the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money awarded" to its men's and women's teams, the statement read.
  • Per the equalization agreement, the unequal FIFA prize money from the men’s and women's World Cup matches will be pooled collectively and then divided equally among members of both teams.

Worth noting: The federation has also agreed to provide childcare for men's senior national team members during all training camps and matches, a benefit that it has provided to the women's team for 25 years, per the press release.

What they're saying: “This is a truly historic moment. These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world,” Cindy Parlow Cone, president of U.S. Soccer, said in the press release.

  • “They said equal pay for men and women was not possible, but that did not stop us and we went ahead and achieved it,” Walker Zimmerman, a member of the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association leadership group, added in the press release.
  • “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," U.S. forward Margaret Purce said in a statement, AP reported.

Go deeper: Listen to the Axios Today podcast, where host Niala Boodhoo and Jeff Tracy share some of the big firsts at this year's World Cup.

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