Should Women’s Soccer players be paid the same as Men’s?


Abbie Davis

Slider Photo from Flickr.

Since the beginning of time, women have been treated as if they are less than men. They have been viewed as weaker, or inferior. This is especially true in the professional soccer community. Men’s games have a much larger supporter turnout than women’s. Prizes for certain competitions are much higher for men’s teams than they are for women. The pay gap between the two genders is made obvious. Soccer all-stars and national team players, such as Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd have spoken up about the issue, and are trying to make a difference in the soccer world. 

In July of 2019, the United States women’s soccer team won their fourth world cup title against the Netherlands. Not too long after the game, the crowd began to chant “equal pay!” in response to a claim made against the United States Soccer Federation (U.S Soccer). The claim was that US Soccer has been unjustly paying female soccer players less than their male counterparts. This has been a long-fought battle between U.S Soccer and the players, but it was only in March of 2019 when all 28 female players decided to sue US Soccer. 

The players’ suit argued that USSF engages in “institutionalized gender discrimination” toward the team. The lawsuit states that “the USSF has caused, contributed to, and perpetuated gender-based pay disparities.” The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) also argued that under the Equal Pay Act, USSF should be paying them the same amount as their male counterparts because both teams are “performing equal work on jobs the performance of which require equal skill, effort, and responsibility.”

According to the lawsuit, between 2013 and 2016 female players received about $4,950 per non-tournament, regular-season game. For the same types of games, the male players earned an average of $13,166.  A 2017 agreement bumped up women’s pay, however, it is still far from equal. 

According to the lawsuit, between 2013 and 2016 female players received about $4,950 per non-tournament, regular-season game.” This is less than half of what the men received. Photo from Pixabay.

US Soccer, during the lawsuit, argued that there were many biological differences between the teams, as justification on why the female players are paid less. They said that the men’s team requires a higher level of skill, so they should be paid more. The federation’s lawyers grilled top players such as Morgan and Lloyd, telling them how the men’s players were much faster and stronger than them. 

According to Buzzfeed News, on account of documents filed in December, one lawyer even asked Lloyd if she believes the WNT could beat the MNT. “I’m not sure,” Lloyd responded. “Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”

After the team won the world cup in July, the USSF players celebrated with a parade in New York City. Aside from celebrating their victory, the team used the parade and social media as a platform to stand up for what they were fighting for. The prize amount difference between the two teams is huge; the prize money for the 2019 women’s world cup was $30 million, where the winning world cup men’s team in 2018 received $400 million. 

US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro spoke during the parade, but his speech was drowned out by the crowd’s chanting of “equal pay!” During his speech, Cordeiro talked about his belief that the WNT does deserve the same pay as the men, and that US Soccer is working to make things right. Rapinoe spoke after him and mentioned she believes what he had to say and thinks change may be in the near future. 

In March of 2020, a letter was released by Cordeiro in which claimed that US Soccer offered an equal pay structure with the men’s national team, but the women rejected the plan. The WNT lawyers argued that the structure being offered was one set in place for the men’s team in 2011, and it is in the process of being renegotiated. 

The WNT protested misogynistic and sexist arguments made during the lawsuit, leading Cordeiro to resign as president on March 12, 2020. Cordeiro took responsibility for all of the things that were said during the lawsuit and resigned after 13 years of working for the federation. 

Brianna McCollough, who works for a local organization called ‘WIN for KC,’ works every day to empower both young girls, and women, by promoting and advocating a life of fitness. She is inspired by athletes like these soccer players and is grateful for all they are doing. 

Because of Covid-19, the trial will not occur until June, but fans are finding other ways to support and donate to the USWNT. Photo from Twitter.

“I think that female athletes like Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd can serve as an inspiration for anyone, regardless of age, but especially to young and impressionable athletes. Standing up for what you believe in and pursuing not only equality but a greater good for so many is extraordinary. Each of these athletes embody female strength and empowerment, encouraging young athletes to pursue their passions to the fullest,” says McCollough. 

Due to COVID-19, the equal pay trial has been postponed until June. In the meantime, the USWNT, along with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), and Women’s National Basketball Players Association, all collaborated to create a line of masks. The masks are being sold, and all proceeds are being donated to a charity providing support for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. 

As this is a scary time, it is encouraging to see people all over the world pitching in to do anything they can to help. As the trial for equal pay has been postponed, the WNT is doing all they can to not only fight for what is right but also give back and help the world.