The CBAs equalize pay for the men and women across different competition and playing areas
The United States Soccer Federation, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association, and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association have agreed to terms on two separate historic collective bargaining agreements. The three organizations announced the landmark contracts, which will run through 2028, on Wednesday.
The new contracts come just two months after the USWNTPA and USSF announced an agreement to resolve outstanding equal pay claims in litigation after a six year legal battle between the two sides. Terms of that settlement included $22 million to the named USWNT players in the case, and USSF agreed to establish a players fund with $2 million to benefit players during their post-soccer careers and invest in charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women.
U.S Soccer also committed to providing an equal rate of pay for both the women’s and men’s national teams that would include World Cup bonuses, but all that was contingent on the two players unions ratifying new collective bargaining agreements.
“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,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “U.S. Soccer and the USWNT and USMNT players have reset their relationship with these new agreements and are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the preeminent sport in the United States.”
The two unions have now reached a historic milestone that will achieve equal pay through identical economic terms. The terms include equal pay for all competitions — including the FIFA World Cup — and the introduction of the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism for both teams. The U.S. Soccer becomes the first federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money awarded to their men’s and women’s national teams in their respective World Cups.
“The accomplishments in this CBA are a testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field,” said USWNT player and USWNTPA President Becky Sauerbrunn. “The gains we have been able to achieve are both because of the strong foundation laid by the generations of WNT players that came before the current team and through our union’s recent collaboration with our counterparts at the USNSTPA and leadership at U.S. Soccer. We hope that this agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for equal pay but also in improving the training and playing environment for National Team players will similarly serve as the foundation for continued growth of women’s soccer both in the United States and abroad.”
The following are just some of the benefits highlighting equity between the two contracts:
Equal Pay for Equal Work
The CBAs provide for equal rates of pay across several components of National Team player pay:
- For friendly games, players on the USWNT and USMNT will be paid identical roster appearance fees and performance payments, based on the outcome of the match and the rank of the opponent, with identical tiering structures. Players not on the game roster will earn the equivalent of an appearance fee for their participation in a Senior National Team camp.
- For official competitions, including the World Cup, USWNT and USMNT players will earn identical game appearance fees. For official competitions other than the World Cup, USWNT and USMNT players will earn identical game bonuses.
- USWNT players will no longer receive guaranteed salaries, and those who play in the NWSL will no longer have their NWSL salaries paid by U.S. Soccer.
Equalization of World Cup Prize Money
- In a first-of-its-kind agreement, U.S. Soccer has agreed with both the USWNTPA and the USNSTPA to pool and share a portion of prize money paid for the teams’ participation in the 2022 Men’s World Cup and the 2023 Women’s World Cup. In this arrangement, the men on the 2022 roster and women on the 2023 roster will be paid an equal percentage of the collective prize money paid by FIFA for the teams’ participation and performance in their respective World Cups. The same will occur with the 2026 and 2027 editions of the respective World Cups.
- For non-World Cup tournaments, the CBAs ensure that players on both teams will earn an equal amount of the total prize money paid when both teams participate in the same competition.
Commercial Revenue Share
- In another first for U.S. Soccer and the Players Associations, U.S. Soccer will share a portion of its broadcast, partner and sponsorship revenue with a 50/50 split of that share divided equally between the USWNT and the USMNT. This new revenue-sharing framework will provide additional encouragement for all parties to work together to grow the game.
- U.S. Soccer will pay the USWNT and USMNT players a share of the revenue from tickets sold at U.S. Soccer-controlled home matches and a bonus amount for those games that are sellouts.
Senior National Team Benefits
In addition to equal compensation, all senior national team players will receive the following benefits:
Child Care: During all training camps and matches for men and women, U.S. Soccer will provide childcare, as it has for the USWNT for more than 25 years.
Retirement: U.S. Soccer will provide a 401(k) plan for all USWNT and USMNT players, while matching up to 5% of players’ compensation, subject to IRS limits. Matching amounts paid to MNT and WNT players will be deducted from each team’s respective share of commercial revenue payable in each year.
Playing and Training Environments
Provisions relating to playing and training environments will also provide equal resources to various parts of the players’ off the field experience:
Venues and Field Surfaces: U.S. Soccer will provide equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces to the USWNT and USMNT.
Accommodations: U.S. Soccer will provide equal resources to the USWNT and USMNT with respect to hotel accommodations for all senior national team matches and camps. On a per-night, per-room basis, U.S. Soccer will maintain comparable budgets for the USWNT and USMNT for each fiscal year for hotel accommodations for matches and camps.
Staffing: The CBAs recommit U.S. Soccer to providing a world-class training environment by ensuring that camps are fully staffed by the experienced personnel needed to provide players with training, recovery and rehabilitation. Additionally, the CBAs commit U.S. Soccer to staffing camps equally, while respecting the unique needs of the USWNT and USMNT.
Travel: U.S. Soccer will provide an equal number of charter flights to both national teams during camps for team travel to official competitions, tournaments, and friendlies.
Safe Work Environment: The CBAs implement important protections to prevent harassment and other improper conduct. The protections include player input into how they are treated and mirror best-in-class sporting medical and other treatment environments around the world. They also adopt prophylactic rules to protect the privacy and dignity of players, including the ability to report anonymously and via text.
Scheduling Predictability: In recognition of the increased focus on women’s professional soccer, and the growth of the NWSL in particular, the USWNTPA CBA commits U.S. Soccer to planning USWNT camps as far in advance as possible, subject to the constraints of FIFA and CONCACAF’s scheduling processes, enabling USWNT players to contribute to their respective clubs.
The historic CBAs will cover the next two World Cup and Olympic cycles and keep USWNT and USMNT players among the highest paid National Team players in the world. The terms of the CBAs, the result of an extensive bargaining process among U.S. Soccer, the USWNTPA, and the USNSTPA, have been approved by U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors and ratified by the membership of both Players Associations.
Through the next cycle
The monumental CBAs will coverthe next World Cup and Olympic cycles. The terms are the result of an extensive bargaining process among U.S. Soccer, the USWNTPA, and the USNSTPA, and have been approved by U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors and ratified by the membership of both Players Associations.
“They said equal pay for men and women was not possible, but that did not stop us and we went ahead and achieved it,” said Walker Zimmerman, member of USNSTPA leadership group. “We hope this will awaken others to the need for this type of change, and will inspire FIFA and others around the world to move in the same direction.”