The United States Soccer Federation announced a landmark collective bargaining agreement with the unions of the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams on Wednesday.
The deal will provide equal economic opportunity for both teams in terms of tournament bonuses, appearances fees, and other forms of compensation.
“This sets a global standard for international soccer,” Tierna Davidson, a women's soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars and member of the women's national team (USWNT), said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "I also hope it sets a standard not just for soccer but for women in many other different types of industries that you can go out and get what you deserve. We have done it here over the past number of years. And it is possible. You do deserve it. And your value is there.”
The deal will equal the payment structure for men’s and women’s players starting with the upcoming men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the women’s 2023 World Cup in Australia.
The two U.S. teams will pool their prize money from the tournaments together and split the profits evenly. This could potentially lead to substantial pay increases for U.S. Women’s National Team players as the overall prize pool for the men’s world cup ($440 million) is expected to be more than seven times greater than the women’s prize pool ($60 million).
Davidson, who was a member of the CBA negotiating committee, stated that although more money will be involved, it won't change the passion that the female players have for the game but rather help them further delve into their careers.
“We are going to be able to take better care of our bodies,” she said. “People are going to be able to dedicate more time. You won’t have to have second jobs. You won’t have to be thinking about other ways to make money. You can focus solely on your soccer career. People will also be able to support their families, have kids. There is a lot of really great components to this CBA that allow us to fully dedicate ourselves as professional athletes.”
The sweeping agreement provides equal benefits across the board for both the women’s and men’s national teams including travel benefits, venues, and field surface selection and other lodging accommodations. The two teams will also join a revenue share agreement, splitting commercial revenue from ticket sales as well as broadcast and sponsorship partners.
USWNT players will also be receiving a significant boost in annual salary. A chart provided to Yahoo Finance by the USWNT showed that compensation for contracted players will increase by 39% while non-contracted players will see an increase of 49%. The total compensation per player for 2022 is expected to be $327,000.
The collective bargaining agreement was ratified less than two weeks after the NWSL signed its first sponsor agreement that pays equally to its male counterpart league, Major League Soccer. Davidson stressed the importance of carrying Wednesday’s equal pay deal into USWNT player's other ventures such as the NWSL.
"As with a startup, as with anything, you have to invest money in it first to see it grow and to see it thrive," Davidson said. "And I think that's what we're starting to see here, and that's what really excites us."
Josh is a producer for Yahoo Finance.