Why the USWNT should make at least as much money as the USMNT


Amelia Sheehan '20

One Nation. One Team. One Pay.

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) is the best female soccer team in the world.  With four World Cup wins and four Olympic Gold Medals, they are consistently the team to beat.  Not only do their championships prove their abilities, but some of the biggest names in soccer have also come from this team, including Ms. Mia Hamm, Ms. Abby Wambach, Ms. Alex Morgan, and Ms. Megan Rapinoe.

On the other hand, the United States Men’s National team (USMNT), ranked twenty-second in the world, has not won any major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics, according to fifa.com.  They more recently failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, according to usatoday.com.  

Despite the USWNT’s constant and overwhelming success, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is not paying them equally.

There should be no argument when it comes to equal pay.  In fact, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions, according to eeoc.gov.

The USMNT won 11, lost five, and tied two games in 2019.  In contrast, the USWNT won 20, lost two, and tied three games last year, according to ussoccer.com.  The USWNT also won an ESPY Award for “Best Team” after their 2019 World Cup win.

In the opening game of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the USWNT beat Thailand 13-0.  The women’s team scored more goals in this game than the men’s team scored during their last two World Cup tournaments combined, according to time.com

“The women allege that they are consistently paid less than the players on the men’s team and discriminated against because of their gender, despite a strong performance record,” according to time.com.

There is a significant pay gap between the USWNT and the USMNT.  Amelia Sheehan ’20

The fight for equal pay has not made progress over the past year.  Last March, all 28 players on the USWNT sued the USSF, arguing that the federation was paying them less and giving them less support than their male counterparts, according to The Washington Post

Almost a year later, February 21, 2020 the USWNT filed another lawsuit against US Soccer seeking 67 million dollars for gender discrimination, according to time.com.  

US Soccer, the governing body to both the USWNT and the USMNT, made a statement which was both inappropriate and ignorant in response to the lawsuit. 

“It is undisputed that the job of [a Men’s National Team] player requires materially more strength and speed than the job of [a Women’s National Team] player,” US Soccer said, according to npr.org.  It also said that “the job of MNT players carries more responsibility than the job of a WNT player.”

Mr. Carlos Cordeiro, President of US Soccer, apologized for the statement and the pain it caused the team.

“[The statement] did not reflect the values of our Federation or our tremendous admiration of our Women’s National Team.  Our WNT players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again from their Olympic Gold medals to their World Cup titles,” Mr. Cordeiro said, according to npr.org.

The USWNT preparing for their quarterfinal match against the French national team in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  Courtesy of Taylor O’Meara ’20

Ms. Rapinoe, winner of the 2019 World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball, revealed that she believed the message from Mr. Cordeiro was insincere.

“We don’t buy it.  That wasn’t for us at all.  That was for everybody else,” Ms. Rapinoe said, according to npr.org.

Mr. Cordeiro stepped down from his position as US Soccer President March 12.  Ms. Cindy Parlow Cone, current Vice President, will serve as the first female President of US Soccer until the next annual General Meeting, according to ussoccer.com.

Ms. Parlow Cone was a four-time All American at the University of North Carolina, was a member of the historic 1999 FIFA World Cup championship team, and won two Olympic Gold medals.  She more recently earned her place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, according to ussoccer.com.

“It is our obligation to move quickly to repair the damage that has been done.  I am committed to addressing this issue in an honest, transparent and forthright manner,” Ms. Parlow Cone said, according to prosoccerusa.com.

Some of the team’s sponsors, including Volkswagen, the USWNT team’s sole partner, and Coca-Cola, Visa, and Deloitte expressed their disappointment with the USSF and their statements, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We at Volkswagen of America are disgusted by positions taken by US Soccer and they are simply unacceptable.  We place great emphasis on gender inclusivity and equality and require our partners to do the same,” Volkswagen USA said, according to twitter.com“We stand by the USWNT and the ideals they represent for the world.  We demand that US Soccer rise up to these values.

The fact that the USWNT still has lower wages than the USMNT emphasizes the progress that both the United States and the world need to make in the fight for equal pay.  Influential organizations like US Soccer need to take the responsibility of setting an example for others, and should pay their outstanding female soccer team at least as much as they pay their male team.

Featured Image by Amelia Sheehan ’20