USWNT, USMNT agree to historic CBAs with U.S. Soccer for equal pay


U.S. Soccer has come to a historic agreement with the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams in the fight for a fair Collective Bargaining Agreement. The U.S. men’s national team have gone without a CBA now for three and a half years. In what all parties called a “collaborative” effort, the CBAs include equal pay across World Cup competitions and other notable features.

On a media call on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. men’s national team defender Walker Zimmerman used the word “proud” often.

“We’re all very excited, very proud and we used the words ‘proud’ and ‘rewarding’ over and over again, but those are the best words to describe how we’re feeling,” Zimmerman said. “Three and a half years without a CBA was stressful, but I’m proud that we did it and got to this point.”

Cindy Parlow Cone, president of U.S. Soccer who recently won her re-election this past year, said that a fair CBA was on the top of her list for 2022.

“I wanted to lead on this and US Soccer wanted to lead on this. I am proud of what we achieved,” Parlow Cone, a former U.S. women’s national team player and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, said. “I have been in this fight for over 20 years, as a player and as president. I want to give a lot of credit to the U.S. men’s and women’s PA’s. It couldn’t have happened without people from those three groups at the table. Hopefully this will lead to progress not just here at home, but around the world.”

According to U.S. Soccer, both CBAs will run through 2028 and have achieved “equal pay through identical economic terms. These economic terms include identical compensation for all competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, and the introduction of the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism for both teams.”

In regard to the World Cup money, “U.S. Soccer becomes the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money awarded to the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Men’s National Team for participation in their respective World Cups,” the federation’s press release read.

“This is a lot of money, but it’s also a real positive and will help us grow the pie so there’s more for everyone,” Parlow Cone stated. “I very much have been working to bridge that gap. I spent my life in the youth game, and I think this is a critically important moment for our game. Hopefully this will increase our presence in the grassroots on our men’s and women’s teams.”

Each other’s “cheerleaders”

The U.S. men’s and women’s national teams have enjoyed plenty of success throughout the years. The U.S. women have won four FIFA Women’s World Cup titles. While the men have never hoisted the trophy, their success in the Concacaf Gold Cup and appearances in the World Cup are nothing to diminish.

Zimmerman referenced being each other’s cheerleaders.

“The collaborating, especially since these negations has improved and created personal relationship between the men and the women,” Zimmerman expounded. “I hope as we continue to partner together and fight for things together. Maybe we’re in camp together, maybe we’re having double headers. I think it’s important to have in the federation and the national team.”

Midge Purce, a player representative for the U.S. women, agreed.

“We’ve always been strong supporters of the men. We watch them in camp. We cheer for them all the time,” she stated. “I think making it known that we’re here and in it with you as much as we can and vice versa is going to be big. One Nation, One Team… I really feel that. I think the sentiment is really strong.”

Zimmerman said that, when looking at numbers and concessions, there were tough conversations. In the end, the U.S. men’s players wanted to be the first to do something historic in the fight for equal pay — something they all believe in.

“When we got together… We looked at the numbers between the previous CBA and the CBA we have now, and we knew we had a chance of making less money,” Zimmerman explained. “But we believe so much in the women’s team, and we believe in equal pay. That was a big driving force for us. Do something that no other team has done before and do it together. There was a lot of listening, a lot of learning, and we ultimately came to this CBA. We’ll be each other’s biggest cheerleaders for sure. I know they will be cheering us on in Qatar.”

Cindy Parlow Cone also made sure to give her due to the men’s players, who gave up concessions in regard to World Cup prize money.

“This advancement doesn’t happen without the men championing this. They were true champions of this and they worked through it. It’s not easy to give up the money, and to step up and do it, they should be applauded,” she said.

The highlights from the U.S. Soccer CBAs

Equal pay includes competitions outside of the World Cup. The CBA states: “For friendly games, players on the USWNT  and USMNT will be paid identical roster appearances fees and performance payments, based on the outcome of the match and the rank of the opponent, with identical tiering structures.”

For Concacaf and other official competitions, “the USWNT and USMNT players will earn identical game appearance fees. For official competitions other than the World Cup, the USWNT and USMNT players will earn identical game bonuses.” As already stated, the USWNT players will not receive guaranteed salaries, as NWSL clubs are paying their national team players.

In regard to commercial revenue, “U.S. Soccer will share a portion of its broadcast, partner and sponsorship revenue with a 50/50 split of that share divided equally between USWNT and USMNT.” For tickets to matches, “U.S. Soccer will pay the USWNT and USMNT players a share of the revenue from tickets sold at U.S. Soccer-controlled home matches and a bonus amount for those games that are sellouts.”

Childcare is also being provided for the men’s and women’s national team players during camp and a 401(K) plan is being added for all players with up to five percent matching to players’ compensation.

Equality is also being provided for in regard to national team staffing, playing field surfaces and venues, accommodations, travel and Safe Work Environment.

Cindy Parlow Cone said this deal became a reality when “everyone got together.”

“That was the first time I thought that we could really do this. That in itself is historic, getting everyone together to negotiate,” Parlow Cone said. “This has been a long time coming and it didn’t happen immediately… It was a long journey, but a collaborative effort of people sitting at the table and working toward a goal. I think it was great and it set a new tone with U.S. Soccer. We wanted to reset the relationship the Players’ Association with U.S. Soccer.

“Everyone has different viewpoints. Everyone was a little uncomfortable and everyone was happy. We landed at a good place.”




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