U.S. Soccer has reached historic agreements with the men’s and women’s national teams, agreeing to collective bargaining agreements with both teams through December 2028 that will have equal pay for the two teams — the first national governing body in the world of soccer to do so.
“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 biggest issue in achieving equal pay was FIFA World Cup prize money, which is massively distorted in payments between the men’s and women’s tournaments. While the USWNT received $110,000 per person for winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the men would have received almost four times as much if it won a World Cup.
For the current World Cup cycles, the USSF will pool the FIFA funds, taking 10 percent off the top and then splitting the rest equally among the 23 players on the roster of each team. For the 2026-27 cycle, the USSF cut increases to 20 percent before the split. Each player will also get matching game appearance fees.
“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, a 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.”
The USWNT ended six years of litigation with U.S. Soccer over equal pay in February in a deal calling for the USSF to pay $24 million, a deal contingent on reaching new collective bargaining agreements. Players will split $22 million and the USSF will establish a fund with $2 million to benefit players in post-soccer careers and charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women.
Women’s union projections have compensation for a player who has been under contract to increase to $327,000 from $245,00 in 2018. The 2023-28 average annual pay would be $450,000 for a player making all rosters, with the possibility of doubling the figure in World Cup years depending on results.
“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.”
Among the other details of the agreement:
- For tournaments such as CONCACAF championships, players will earn identical game bonuses.
- For friendlies, players will get matching appearance fees and performance payments based on the result and opponent.
- Women gave up guaranteed base salaries that had been part of the CBA since 2005.
- Child care, covered for women for more than 25 years, will be extended to men during training camps and matches.
- Players will receive a portion of commercial revenue from tickets for matches controlled by the USSF and each team will get a portion of broadcast, partner and sponsor revenue.
- Players will get a 401(k) plan and the USSF will match up to 5% of a player’s compensation, subject to IRS limits.