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USSF President Says Equal Pay Settlement Lifts 'Dark Cloud' from U.S. Soccer

Erin WalshJuly 15, 2022

Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Achieving equal pay for the men's and women's national soccer teams two months ago lifted the "dark cloud" over the United States Soccer Federation, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone told ESPN:

"Not only getting equal pay with the CBAs but solving the litigation has made this dark cloud that was hanging over all of our heads move along.

"It affected everything we did at the federation, so now to have a reset with our national team players on the men and women's side, to move forward together, to actually be aligned with each other and hoping each other succeed is really great.

"It has allowed me to sleep a little bit more at night, which I'm also appreciative for."

The USSF, United States Women's National Team Players Association and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association agreed to terms on collective bargaining agreements that achieved equal pay in May.

Parlow Cone said at the time:

"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. 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 CBAs for the men's and women's teams, which have identical economic terms, run through 2028. The teams will receive identical pay for every competition, including the men's and women's FIFA World Cups, and will also split a portion of U.S. Soccer's commercial revenue, including broadcast, partner, sponsorship and ticket sale revenue.

Members of the men's and women's national teams also receive equal benefits for child care and retirement, along with equal support for venues and field surfaces, accommodations, travel, staffing, scheduling predictability, safe work environments. Some USWNT players also receive insurance, parental leave and short-term disability.

The USWNT had been fighting for equal pay since 2016 when five of the team's star players—Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe—filed a wage discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Three years later, the women withdrew their claim and instead filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, suing the federation for gender discrimination. They said the discrimination affected their paychecks, where and when they played, medical treatments, coaching and travel.

In 2020, a federal judge rejected the USWNT's argument over receiving less pay than the men's team but preserved the claim of unequal working conditions. The women's players appealed, and in February, they reached a settlement with U.S. Soccer that included a pledge from the federation to equalize pay, which wasn't achieved until May.

Achieving equal pay was huge for the women's national team, who will look to win their third straight World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.

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