Skip to main content

Despite US Soccer's Landmark Equal Pay Deal, Work Still Needed Off The Pitch

One small wrong has been righted as both US Soccer teams (men's and women's teams) agree to an equal pay deal.

"It's about time." That is often the feeling when a monumental change in society finally happens. There's a feeling that an injustice has been righted, even if it should have been done long ago. Pay equity in the US is still a problem in every industry. 

Today, US Soccer has finally agreed to a deal that achieves “equal pay and sets the global standard moving forward in international soccer.”

US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone spoke on the momentous agreement. 

“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. US 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.”

This agreement is essentially a profit-sharing venture. US Soccer will share a portion of its “broadcast, partner and sponsorship revenue with a 50/50 split of that share divided equally between USWNT and USMNT.”

It's worth noting this deal covers more than just the profits pay. It also includes parental leave, short-term disability, mental health medical care, travel, child care, and equal quality of event venues. The agreement is bigger than soccer, but it certainly starts with soccer, as USWNTPA President Becky Sauerbrunn pointed out. 

“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."

The equal pay deal comes six months before the USMNT is scheduled to participate in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Precedent Set Should Spread Outside Of Soccer

It's been nearly 50 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which exists to "prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." The gender pay gap still exists in the US, and these are some facts (from the AAUW) that still affect pay equity. 

The gender pay gap exists for every age group and widens over a woman’s lifetime. It increases throughout a woman’s work life and is widest for women ages 55–64.

The pay gap tends to be larger for women of color and in some cases, the gap appears to be widening.

  •   Latinas make 55 cents on the dollar.
  •   American Indian or Alaska Native women make 60 cents on the dollar.
  •   Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander women make 63 cents on the dollar.
  •   Black women make 63 cents on the dollar.
  •   Asian women make 87 cents on the dollar.

The pay gap occurs across job types and vocations.

"Fields with the smallest pay gaps are food workers, writers, counselors, pharmacists, and social workers, where women earn within 97–99% of what their male colleagues do. The largest gaps occur among financial services sales agents, financial managers, and financial advisers. In those fields, the pay ratio between women and men is between 61–66%."

I shared these facts but you can find more here. We need to remember that while changes are being made, (and should certainly be celebrated) we must never be complacent over justice and fairness. With that said, go USA Soccer!