The United States Woman’s National Soccer team has reached a proposed settlement against the United States Soccer Federation, in their class action lawsuit. After a six year battle the players reached a proposed $24 million settlement in their fight for equal pay.
On February 22, the fight for equal pay in the United States Soccer Federation came to an end with a multi-million dollar settlement and the federations promise to equalize pay between the men and women’s national teams. The federation will also transfer $2 million to a fund for the USWNT players post career goals and charitable efforts, with each player able to apply for up to $50,000.
“We are pleased to announce that, content contingent on the negotiation of a new collective-bargaining agreement, we will have results are long-standing dispute over equal pay and probably staying together in a share commitment in advance inequality in soccer,“ both parties announced in a joint statement.
The issue dates all the way back to 2016, when a federal equal pay complaint was filed by five high profile members of the women’s national team. The players argued that every member of the women’s team was paid thousands of dollars less than compared to the men’s at nearly every level. The complaint evolved into a little argument when 28 players then sued the US soccer federation in March 2019. The athletes argued that female players were consistently paid less than their male counterparts despite the same level of competition and performance. The lawsuit came just before the US women’s team went on to win its second consecutive tournament in 2019, furthering the argument for equal pay.
The fight for equal pay in the league not only put them up against their employer but also the sports national governing body and the the front of the fight for women’s equality in America as a whole.
“It wasn’t an easy process,“ Cindy Parlow Cone, president of the United States Soccer Federation, said.
The settlement is contingent on the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement in the USWMT Players Association. The players and the federation are working together under a “memorandum of understanding“ that runs through the end of March. Then, a district court will be able to schedule a final approval for the settlement once the agreement has been ratified.
$24 million does fall short of the more than $66 million the players had originally thought back in 2016, but the players still see this as a significant victory for the team and for equal pay in America.
“We feel like this is a huge win – but it will have an equal pay on everything moving forward,“ said Megan Rippon. “It’s honestly kind of surreal. I feel like I need to take a step back. We’ve all been in the trenches of it for so long. I think I honestly don’t even understand how monumental this is.“
Both parties say they look forward to continuing working together and stated that this is a “monumental win“ and a “major step forward.“ The federation promises to “grow women’s soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe.“