U.S. Soccer was sued by players from the United States’ women’s national team in 2019, with that case now being brought to a close
Megan Rapinoe is among those to have welcomed a notable victory for USWNT stars in their legal fight against U.S. Soccer, with a pay discrimination case set to deliver $22 million in back pay for the 28 players that sued the system in 2019.
A long-running dispute that has only just been brought to a close stretches all the way back to 2016, when a complaint was filed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The final settlement agreed in February 2022, which includes a further $2m dedicated to post-playing careers and charitable endeavours and will see equal pay distributed between the men’s and women’s teams in America, will be given final approval once a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has been agreed between the USWNT Players’ Association and the federation – with the memorandum of understanding that is in place at present set to run through to the end of March.
“We’re so happy,” USWNT superstar Rapinoe told The Athletic.
“We feel like this is a huge win — obviously contingent upon the ratification of the CBA — but it will have equal pay on everything moving forward.
“It’s honestly kind of surreal. I feel like I need to take a step back. We’ve all been in the trenches of it for so long. I think I honestly don’t even understand how monumental this is.”
Rapinoe added that “justice” has been done for stars of the present and future, while the 2019 Ballon d’Or Feminin winner has also thanked the efforts of past players – such as 1999 World Cup winner and current president of the United States Soccer Federation, Cindy Cone – for making a historic agreement possible.
Rapinoe said: “Thankful for Cindy, who fought really hard to get this done.
“Her knowing and experiencing all of this herself, probably worse than we had it, and knowing what a big champion she was of this (settlement), in potentially the face of some opposition.”
U.S. Soccer has released a joint-statement with the USWNT on its official website confirming the resolution of an outstanding equal pay dispute which has hung over the game in America for several years.
That statement reads: “We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer.
“Getting to this day has not been easy. The U.S. Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes.
“Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow. Together, we dedicate this moment to them.
“We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe.”