The contract between the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association and U.S. Soccer Federation expires on December 31st. The biggest issue the players’ union faces? Equal Pay.
The U.S. Soccer Federation manages both the men and women’s national teams, but U.S. Soccer pays women a lot less than the men for similar work.
Team captain Carli Lloyd explains:
“We feel like second class citizens because they don’t care about us as much as they care about the men”
The “THEM” Carli Lloyd is referring to is the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The National Soccer team salaries bring us a textbook example of men getting paid more than women for the same job.
The women’s national team is paid thousands of dollars less than men at almost every level of competition. The men get paid more to just show up than the women get paid to win major championships.
Much of the disparity in wages between the men’s and women’s teams stem from the different ways the players are paid. The women earn salaries while the men are paid based on national team appearances, results and other factors.
Longtime former goalie Hope Solo explains how the teams are paid differently.
Hope Solo: No. There’s two different pay structures. The men get paid per game. Whether they win or lose, they get paid. The women were on a salary-based contract.
The pay structure was set up under separate collective bargaining agreements negotiated by unions for the men’s and women’s teams.
Fighting for equal pay is something the women have been asking the US Soccer Federation for a long time. Here’s Hope Solo on 60 Minutes.
Hope Solo: Time and time again we asked that we wanted to be paid equally to the men. And I’ll never h–Every time we brought up the men, it pissed them off it, annoyed them, and they’d say, “Don’t bring up the men. Don’t bring it up.”
Earlier this year, five players filed a complaint against the federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging wage discrimination, they are not paid as much as their counterparts on the men’s national team.
Attorney Rich Nichols says the women simply want equal pay.
Rich Nichols: We want the same money that the men are making, exactly. That’s $5,000 minimum– that’s– that $8,000– bonus if you tie a game, and the $17,625 if you win. We want equal money.
Nichols is representing the five athletes who filed the case with the EEOC. Nichols says they need a better contract. The current contract between the women’s players union and the federation expires December 31st.
The EEOC has not yet made any decision in the complaint, which was brought by players Becky Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd. All five were on the team that won the World Cup last year in Canada.
For its part, the U.S. Soccer Federation responded to the complaint by saying, “any differences in the compensation paid men and women players are driven by factors other than gender.”
The reason women get paid less is often wrapped up in how little they contribute or that they don’t draw in a big audience. Yet with soccer, we see over and over that the women are BETTER than the men’s teams.
FIFA, the international soccer federation, ranks the U.S. women’s team at number one. The men are ranked 24th. The Women’s team has three World Cup Titles, Three Gold Olympic Medals and played in the most watched televised soccer game in history. The U.S. men’s team have never won a World Cup.
Here’s Team Captain Carli Lloyd:
We’re America’s dream team and, we’ve been at the forefront. We’ve been at the top and I think the No. 1 team in women’s sports history.
The U.S. Women’s team generated nearly $20 million dollars more in revenue last year than the U.S. men’s team. They have a winning record. Yet the women fly coach while the men fly first class, they get less money to travel,making the disparities more insulting. Both men’s and women’s teams play the same game, under similar working conditions.
U.S. Soccer says that it is working to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the women’s national team.
When the women’s team went to the White House in October 2015 to celebrate their third World Cup win, they were treated like national heroes. Who can forget what President Obama said?
President Obama: “This team taught all America’s children that playing like a girl means you’re a bad ass.”
It’s time that playing like a girl can mean getting paid like a man. And if any team can do it, it’s the U.S. Women’s Soccer team.