Women's Soccer Team Says It's Paid Less Than Men Despite More Revenue

Members of the women's national team say they made U.S. Soccer more money than the men's team, but that they're still paid less.
Posted at 11:06 PM, Jun 18, 2019

The U.S. women's national soccer team has closed a revenue gap, but now players are hoping to close a pay gap as well. 

Since its World Cup win in 2015, the women's team has generated $50.8 million in revenue, compared to the men's team's $49.9 million.

And the 28 women players made that revenue a key part of their argument when they filed a gender discrimination lawsuit in March. Despite the women's team bringing in more revenue than the men's, women players say U.S. Soccer has paid them less than men; denied them the same playing, training and travel conditions as men; and promoted their games less than men's.

U.S. Soccer has denied the pay gap allegation. It said in May that the teams are paid "based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex."

But the women say that doesn't add up. According to their suit, the women's team was paid about $1.7 million for winning the 2015 World Cup. But in 2014, the men's team was paid almost $5.4 million — despite losing in the round of 16.

What's more, both teams have to play a minimum of 20 exhibition games a year. Women players get paid a minimum of $3,600 per game with winning bonuses of about $1,300. But men are guaranteed at least $5,000 per game and could earn winning bonuses that fall between $6,000 and $18,000 per game.

According to the women's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, that means a man could lose all his mandatory exhibition games and still make $1,000 more than a woman who wins all 20 games.

The women's team has won four Olympic gold medals and three World Cups — not to mention that it just broke the record for the largest winning margin in World Cup history. The team defeated Thailand 13-0 on June 11.

The U.S. men's soccer team has never won a World Cup and did not qualify for the 2018 tournament.

But U.S. Soccer says the women's and men's teams have "different obligations, are compensated in fundamentally different ways and enjoy different benefits."

A representative for the women's team said the players "look forward to a trial next year after the World Cup."