The US Women’s Soccer team on Wednesday signed a collective bargaining agreement with the US Soccer Federation that will grant them more equal pay to the men's team, and other benefits for both the national team and professional league.
In a joint statement between the USSF and the US Women’s National Team Players Association, the two sides said that the deal “will continue to build the women's program in the US, grow the game of soccer worldwide, and improve the professional lives of players on and off the field.” The team was represented by the player’s union in the deal.
On March 31, 2016, five US Women’s Soccer players filed a lawsuit against the USSF for wage discrimination through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The players’ affidavit underscored the gap between the team’s historical accomplishments — they are the only women’s team to have won three World Cup championships — and their salaries and benefits compared to the less successful US Men’s National team.
According to the Washington Post, both sides agreed that the CBA includes notable raises in direct compensation and bonuses, better benefits related to hotels and travel, per diems equal to the men’s team, and financial support for players who are pregnant or choose to adopt children.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who was a key force on the team when they won their third World Cup championship against Japan in 2015, said on Twitter that she believed the deal was “a crucial step forward for the future of the WNT.”
Rapinoe, who was one of the signees of the 2016 lawsuit, added that as a member of the players union, “we feel better today than we were yesterday, and will be better tomorrow than we are today."
Defender Meghan Klingenberg, another member of the World Cup-winning squad, tweeted that the ratified "deal enables us to explore our collective value and create new possibilities for our members.”
The deal is valid through 2021, and will cover both the 2019 Women's World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics.