U.S. women's national soccer team pay discrimination claim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Retired footballer Brandi Chastain talking about the importance of equal pay regarding the U.S. women's national soccer team pay discrimination claim in 2019.

Five women (Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn) who were members of the United States women's national soccer team filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the United States Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in April 2016.

Separately, the Women's National Team Players Association filed a complaint in U.S. District court seeking to void an extension of its collective bargaining agreement with the United States Soccer Federation through the end of 2016. On July 3, 2016, the court ruled that the extension was valid and that the Players Association was bound by a no-strike provision in the agreement.[1]

Despite substantial media pressure and allegations of discrimination and unfairness, the judge in the case ruled against the women players, and noted that they did not have a valid claim. It turns out that the women were in fact already paid more than the men ($220,747 per game for the women vs $212,639 per game for the men), and that the players filing suit were paid more than the four highest paid men's national team players. The judge also noted that the women were given the opportunity to accept the same contract as the men, and that the women's contract offered substantial benefits that the men's contract excluded, including a base salary, continuing payments to injured players, and severance pay.[2]


The main complaints from the players involve claims of wage discrimination. The petitioners pointed out that men receive a $5,000 bonus for a loss in a friendly match, while women receive nothing for a loss or a draw. However, when the teams win, the men receive as much as $17,625, but women only receive $1,350. Further, in 2011, when the women placed second in their World Cup, they were awarded $1.8 million, split evenly among the 24 players on the team. The men's team made it only to the round of 16 that year; however, they were awarded $5 million. In 2014, when Germany won the Men's World Cup, the US team was awarded $35 million by FIFA, while the women received 5% of that for their Cup victory in 2015. [3][4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

The United States Soccer Federation responded to the complaint in a statement detailing its efforts to promote women's soccer, including its support of the National Women's Soccer League.[11]

In April 2017, the Players Association and the Federation negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement which may render the players' EEOC complaint moot. As of April 2017, the EEOC had not issued a decision.[12]

In 2019, twenty eight members of the USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit. Their claims affects not only their paychecks but also where they play and how often, how they train, the medical treatment and coaching they receive, and even how they travel to matches.[13] U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles has scheduled a trial for Sept. 15 on the players’ remaining claim of discriminatory work conditions.[14] In May 2020, Klausner summarily dismissed the unequal pay portion of the lawsuit.


Joe Biden called on the team to not "give up this fight," and demand US Soccer "pay now," or "when I'm president, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding."[15]


  1. ^ "Judge: US women's soccer team has no right to strike". U.S. News & World Report. June 3, 2016.
  2. ^ Order of the Honorable R. Gary Klasuner, May 2, 2020
  3. ^ Das, Andrew (31 March 2016). "Top Female Players Accuse U.S. Soccer of Wage Discrimination". Retrieved 2 June 2017 – via NYTimes.com.
  4. ^ Das, Andrew. "Top Female Players Accuse U.S Soccer of Wage Discrimination". New York Times. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Data: How does the U.S. women's soccer team pay compare to the men?". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  6. ^ Santhanam, Laura. "Data: How does the U.S. women's soccer team pay compare to the men?". PBS NewsHour. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  7. ^ Wire, SI. "Court rules in favor of U.S. soccer in WNT lawsuit". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  8. ^ Futbol, Planet. "Court rules in favor of U.S. Soccer, USWNT can't strike". Sports Illustrated. Sports Illustrated.
  9. ^ "Team USA members on historic fight for equal pay in women's soccer". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  10. ^ O'Donnell, Norah. "Team USA members on historic fight for equal pay in women's soccer". CBS News. CNN. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  11. ^ "U.S. Soccer responds to USWNT's wage complaint". Sports Illustrated. March 31, 2016.
  12. ^ "Goal Reached: US Women's Soccer Team Gets New Contract". U.S. News & World Report. April 5, 2017.
  13. ^ Das, Andrew (2019-03-08). "U.S. Women's Soccer Team Sues U.S. Soccer for Gender Discrimination". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  14. ^ "Judge denies immediate appeal request by U.S. women's soccer players in unequal pay case". KTLA. 2020-06-24. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  15. ^ Cranley, Ellen. "'Pay now': Biden demands US Soccer give its women's national team equal pay or 'go elsewhere for World Cup funding' if he's elected president". Business Insider.