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US Soccer reaches landmark deal with top players to guarantee equal pay

On Wednesday, US Soccer announced it will pay the women’s and men’s teams equally

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Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan celebrate with U.S. women’s soccer teammates.

Megan Rapinoe, center, and Alex Morgan, right, celebrates with U.S. women’s soccer teammates at City Hall after a ticker tape parade, Wednesday, July 10, 2019, in New York. The U.S. national team beat the Netherlands 2-0 to capture a record fourth Women’s World Cup title.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday that new contracts will pay both the women’s and men’s national teams equally, per USA Today This milestone agreement also includes splitting World Cup prize money.

What led to a deal with U.S. Soccer and USWNT?

The United States women’s national soccer team fought for years to get equal compensation by hiring lawyers, making public statements and having discussions with the U.S. Soccer Federation. After years of litigation and public disputes, the group came to a collective bargaining agreement.

“It’s very rewarding. For me, I feel very humbled to join this fight that has been going on years before I even touched a ball. Before I was born, actually,” Midge Purce, a member of the USWNT’s bargaining committee, told USA Today.

What will USWNT get with the deal with U.S. soccer?

With this new deal, the USWNT will get $7.2 million, which is a 54 percent increase from 2018. It also includes a 68 percent increase in what players could earn in World Cup qualifying tournaments, according to USA Today.

The collective bargaining agreement is a shift from typical sports contracts toward more of a “pay-for-play model.” The deal will include benefits, child care and parental leave in the contracts, according to ESPN.

“No other country has ever done this,” U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said of the deal to equalize World Cup payments to ESPN. “I think everyone should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished here. It really, truly is historic.”

When did the fight for equal pay start for the USWNT?

The women’s national team is recognized as U.S. Soccer’s most successful and visible team, having won four Olympic gold medals and winning more World Cups than any other country, according to Goal.com.

After the women’s team won consecutive World Cup championships in 2015 and 2019, while the men failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament, the contention surrounding the pay gap increased.

A group of top women’s players sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination in 2019, citing the inequalities in treatment and pay in comparison to the men’s team and won the lawsuit three months ago, The New York Times reported.

Does the men’s team bring in more money than the women’s team to U.S. Soccer?

Not necessarily. “After expenses, the women turned a profit of $6.6 million last year. The men? Their profit was just under $2 million. Looking ahead, U.S. Soccer’s 2017 budget predicts that trend will be repeated,” The New York Times reported in 2016.

Why does this deal matter for U.S. Soccer and USWNT?

The agreement changes how players are compensated, how they are contracted, and makes a big step toward more equal pay between the teams.

“I feel a lot of pride that there are going to be girls who are going to grow up and see what we’ve accomplished and recognize their value instead of having to fight to see it themselves,” Purce told The New York Times.