Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The U.S. women's national team celebrates after winning the FIFA Women's World Cup against Japan on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

In Show of Solidarity, US Men's Soccer Team Slams Officials for 'Systematic' Pay Discrimination Against USWNT

 "Achieving equal pay is so much bigger than our team and our playing fields—women in workforces everywhere deserve equality now."

Julia Conley

The union representing the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team waded into the rift between the national women's team and the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay Wednesday, demanding that the federation end its "false narrative" over the female players' compensation.

The U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) released the statement shortly after contract negotiations between the federation (USSF) and the men's team stalled. The union said the women's current contract, covering 2017 to 2021, offers lower compensation than the men's recently expired deal, which covered 2011 to 2018. 

"Our great hope is that 2020 will be the year of equal pay. We are grateful for the support of our male colleagues, and also for the overwhelming solidarity from millions of fans and sponsors around the world who have stood with us to fight USSF's discrimination."
—Megan Rapinoe, USWNT

"What we believe should happen is simple. Pay the women significantly more than our recently expired men's deal," said the union. "In our estimation, the women were due at least triple what our expired deal was worth in player compensation."

After winning the World Cup last summer, 28 players from the women's team (USWNT) filed a lawsuit against the federation, accusing officials of "institutionalized gender discrimination."

Despite outperforming their male counterparts by winning three out of seven women's World Cups, the USWNT says players are paid 38% of what the men's soccer team is paid.

"For more than 20 years, the Federation has resisted any concept of equal pay or basic economic fairness for the USWNT players," reads the statement from the men's team. "Historically, the Federation also refused to include in the women's [collective bargaining agreement] the same provisions as the men's with respect to air travel, hotels, etc. This is systematic gender discrimination that should have never happened."

After the USWNT filed its complaint last year, USSF President Carlos Cordeiro put forward what the men's team called a "false narrative," claiming the USWNT has actually been paid more in total over the past decade than the men. 

Cordeiro "highlighted tens of millions of dollars of investment by the federation in women’s soccer, noting specifically more than $18 million in direct support for the National Women's Soccer League, the seven-year-old professional league, and millions more in spending on youth programs," reported the New York Times. 

Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the USWNT, countered Cordeiro's claim, calling it both a "ruse" and "sad attempt by the USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support" for the women's case.

"Any apples to apples comparison shows that the men earn far more than the women," Levinson said last summer. "The fact is the women's team requested the same compensation structure as the men have, so they would be paid equally for equal performance. USSF refused, offering lower compensation in every category for the women in a pay for performance structure. That is patently unequal pay."

Megan Rapinoe, captain of the USWNT, released a statement thanking the USNSTPA for its show of solidarity.

"Our great hope is that 2020 will be the year of equal pay. We are grateful for the support of our male colleagues, and also for the overwhelming solidarity from millions of fans and sponsors around the world who have stood with us to fight USSF's discrimination," the statement said. "Achieving equal pay is so much bigger than our team and our playing fields—women in workforces everywhere deserve equality now."

Observers on social media applauded the men's team for speaking out.

"Sport is a microcosm of society," tweeted attorney Kelsey Trainor. "The USWNT equal pay lawsuit is about so much more."

The men's team called on soccer fans to withdraw support from the USSF's sponsors, including Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, and Nike until the federation does "the right thing and gives the women a new CBA that pays a fair share of the gate receipts and that television and sponsorship revenue to the players."

"Support the players, not the Federation," the union added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Freelance Photographer Says He Was Fired by NYT Over Support for Palestinian Resistance

"What is taking place is a systematic effort to distort the image of Palestinian journalists as being incapable of trustworthiness and integrity, simply because we cover the human rights violations that the Palestinian people undergo on a daily basis at hands of the Israeli army."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Cruel Disregard for Life': Rights Groups Condemn Iran's Deadly Attacks on Protesters

Human Rights Watch documented lethal repression by government forces against protesters "in largely peaceful and often crowded settings, altogether killing and injuring hundreds."

Brett Wilkins ·


Permian Basin Leaking 14 Times More Methane Than EPA Estimates: Study

"Applying this estimate to all gas gathering pipelines nationwide for illustrative purposes would increase the EPA inventory estimate for the entire natural gas system by 27%," noted co-authors of a new study.

Julia Conley ·


Coalition Representing 24 Million Workers Demands Senate Vote on PRO Act Before Midterms

"Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would level the playing field for these workers, and show people which side the Senate Democrats are on," said one advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·


US Should Respond to OPEC by Reinstating Oil Export Ban, Says Green Group

"It is no surprise that the international oil cartel is seeking to maintain high prices," said a campaigner with Food & Water Watch. "Political leaders here at home must understand that the solution is not to increase drilling."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo