USWNT Reaches $24M Equal Pay Landmark Settlement

USWNT Reaches $24M Equal Pay Landmark Settlement

Autumn Copeland, News Writer

 The U.S. women’s national soccer team’s fight for equal pay started in 2016 when a federal equal pay complaint was filed, in reference to the women’s team being paid thousands of dollars less than the men’s. Then, in March of 2019, twenty-eight players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging that they were constantly being paid less than male players despite their better performance. 

A federal judge dismissed the women’s claims in May of 2020. After this, the players filed an appeal stating that the judge had not properly looked at the pay rates and the fact that “women had to win more often” than men. This is evident in the fact that the men earn $2.5 million as a team for qualifying for the World Cup and the women earn $750,000 for doing the same thing. 

The men’s World Cup began in 1930 and the U.S. men’s team has never won, whereas the women’s World Cup began in 1991 and the U.S. women’s team has won four times.

According to ESPN, if the women’s team finishes in third place, they earn $575,000 and if they win the World Cup, they earn $2.53 million. The men, however, collect earnings for every stage of the tournament before the final. If they reach the round of 16 alone, they get $4.5 million, reaching the quarterfinal round is worth $5 million, and the semifinal is $5.625 million. And if they win the World Cup they earn a $9.375 million bonus.


USWNT reaches a $24 million equal pay landmark settlement in the last World Cup cycle, FIFA offered a $38 million prize to the team that won the men’s World Cup, but only a $4 million prize for the team that won the women’s tournament. U.S. Soccer has blamed FIFA for the unequal World Cup bonuses, but U.S. Soccer does not base its bonuses for USWNT and USMNT on FIFA prize money. In fact, under current USWNT and USMNT contracts, if FIFA stopped offering World Cup prize money, U.S. Soccer would still owe the millions of dollars promised if the teams were to win.

On February 21, 2022, it was announced that the six-year-long legal battle had come to an end in favor of the women’s team. U.S. Soccer will pay $22 million to the players involved in the case and an additional $2 million to benefit USWNT players in their post-career goals.

“This is going to be one of those incredible moments that we look back on and say the game changed forever, U.S. Soccer changed forever, and the landscape of soccer in this country and in the world changed forever because of this,” said Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign and US international midfielder, according to

While other players are celebrating this victory, some people are not satisfied with the results of the legal battle. Former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo took to social media to express her concerns regarding the lawsuit. 

“This settlement is not a ‘huge win’. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating,” Solo wrote. 

“If the players had ever been successful in negotiating an equal CBA, there would’ve been no reason to sue the federation in the first place,” Solo added.

Solo clarified that the “promise” of equal pay “does not exist yet and is not guaranteed”. Some see the lawsuit settlement as a final deal, but Solo thinks they are not paying attention to the bigger picture. 

DHS Arabian athletes spoke up regarding the weight of it all.

“It all goes back to equal rights,” senior basketball and cross country athlete Yessika Garza said.

“I think it is unfair because we train just as much as them, sometimes more and we put in the same amount of work,” Garza added.

“I think the settlement is a good thing. This will pave the way for future players.” junior Raynee Allen said. 

Women’s sports still have a long way to go, but this is one step in the right direction. It will take more fights like this one to put an end to the prejudice women face not only in sports but in everyday life.