FRISCO, Texas — The United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams will now have equal pay after reaching collective bargaining agreements that run through December 2028.
Wednesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced agreements with both unions.
“This is a truly historic moment,” Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement. “In becoming the first federation in the world to solve the massive and vexing challenge of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money, U.S. Soccer and our players have changed the game forever here at home, with the hopes of inspiring change around the world.”
Professional athletes weren’t the only ones to feel the impact of the deal. Dani Vaughn is a coach at FC Dallas’s youth academy and woke up to a push alert on her phone about the agreement.
“I send it immediately to my teams and my parents and tell them this is a great thing for change, and it’s a great thing for girls to know their worth,” she said. “I’m in the generation of women who started this fight.”
The agreements mean the equal performance-based bonuses for all games and share commercial and ticket revenue.
Possibly most notable is the agreement -- to pool the prize money from the men’s and women’s World Cups and split it evenly. The women have won four World Cups to none for the men’s team, but the FIFA payouts are significantly different. According to FIFA, the men’s 2018 payout was $38 million to the winning team but just $4 million to the women’s winner.
“The women’s national team program is the greatest dynasty in sports, arguably,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said. “I’m really happy. This is a big moment for US soccer.”
Hunt, who has two daughters, said the team’s youth academy already fills every field they can find, and opportunities for jobs and pay on the women’s side are growing globally.
“They’re role models,” Hunt said of the women’s team. “You hope your daughters can aspire to the levels that these women have accomplished and they’re global icons now, and they represent themselves so well.”
The women’s union expects the new agreement to be about a 35% pay bump, but the benefits go beyond pay to parental leave and childcare.
Vaughn’s icon is Joy Fawcett who returned to training three weeks after giving birth.
“Now they’re more apt to maybe not hold off on childcare, having this and that because now they’re like, ‘My kid’s in a safe space and now I can go give my 110%,” she said.
On the pro level, the average MLS player earns around six times more than the average in the women’s league, but Vaughn said she progress for the next generation.
“The biggest changes is representation. Representation is very important,” she said. “For a long time we’ve said, ‘You know, work hard, do this, but maybe it’s not good enough,’ but now it’s showing. Yeah, we are.”