A little over three months after winning a $24 million class action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, the United States women’s soccer team picked up another win after the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Soccer and the men’s and women’s national teams.
Approved on Wednesday morning, the new CBA will eliminate the pay gap between the USMNT and USWNT and see World Cup bonuses from FIFA pooled together and split among them equally, making the United States the first country to pay it’s men’s and women’s team equally.
Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman, who’s a member of the United States National Soccer Team Players’ Association, acknowledged evening out the pay scale was long overdue.
"It's something that [the U.S. women's team players] deserve,” Zimmerman said, via ESPN. “It's something that they have fought for so hard, and to be honest, sometimes it does feel like we had just kind of come alongside of them and had been a little late. It's not easy to look back and think about this whole journey and where it started for them and how we entered. And that's why it's even more important for us to feel like we are getting involved. It's never too late to get involved."
The new CBAs will take effect on June 1 and run through the end of 2028.
In addition to splitting World Cup bonuses, both the USMNT and USWNT will earn equal prize money for non-World Cup events, and women’s players will no longer be paid guaranteed salaries but now earn similar pay rates to the men.
FIFA had previously cited the “substantial” difference in revenue generated from the men’s and women’s games for the disparity in bonuses paid to the teams. Previously, the men’s team had been pocketing larger World Cup bonuses than the women, regardless of how far they advanced in the tournament.
For comparison, the USWNT earned a $4 million bonus after winning the 2019 World Cup, while the USMNT will earn a $13 million bonus if they advance to the Round of 16 in this year’s World Cup.
While FIFA will continue to pay out bonuses as it sees fit, the new CBA ensures there will be no more unequal pay between the USMNT and USWNT.
"I'm really excited to start this partnership almost fresh, a clean slate,” Zimmerman added. “We're working together. We have accomplished so much together with this revolutionary CBA, and certainly we're [going to] be cheering like crazy, because that's exactly what this CBA is. It's equal. We will be their biggest fans. I'm sure they will be our biggest fans, as well."
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