The dispute dates back to March 2019 when the USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against American football.
The agreement will see the women’s and men’s national teams receive equal pay in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.
“We are pleased to announce that, provided a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and stand together proudly in a shared commitment to promoting equality in football,” the joint statement released on Tuesday said.
As part of the agreement, US Soccer will pay $22 million to the players in the cause as well as “an additional $2 million in an account to benefit USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer.”
Settlement is conditional on the ratification of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the USWNT.
“Access to this day was not easy,” the statement said. “The USA Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working towards equal pay for themselves and the athletes of the future.
“Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped make this day possible, as well as all the women and girls who will follow. Together, we dedicate this moment to them.
“We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s football and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and around the world.”
“Justice” turns the page
Two-time World Cup winners Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan — along with NFL chief Cindy Barlow Kohn — reflected on the historic pact on CBS Mornings.
“To be honest is a bit surreal,” Rapinoe said. “We have been in this for a long time and come from a long history of women who have struggled to put the sport in a better place.
“The thing I look forward to and am really proud of is that justice comes in the next generation and you never have to go through what we’ve been through – it’s equal pay across the board from now on.
“I look forward to continuing to develop this sport and for this to be a moment when we look back as marking the new American football that we can all be very proud of.”
Rapinoe said the long-term effects of the agreement could lead to greater success for the national team.
“The biggest part of the legacy we can take from this generation is that the next players will have a much better ability to just play,” Rapinoe said.
“However, they are likely to be better than we’ve ever been, and that’s the point.”
Morgan added that a large part of the settlement was a move toward “repairing” the team’s relationship with the NFL.
“This is a huge step, and repairing that relationship with American football is a big part of that,” Morgan said.
“We feel relieved, happy and proud of the moment we have to get to now because it is a huge win for us, for women’s sports, for women in general – a moment we can all celebrate now.”
Later, on ABC’s Good Morning America, Cohn, the 1999 World Cup winner as a USWNT quarterback, echoed Morgan’s ratings.
“I think this is a huge victory for everyone involved, but at the moment we are focused on moving forward in the game, so this is actually a great transitional moment,” she said. “We still have a lot of work to do to repair the relationship with our players but we are on the way to that but we are looking forward.
“They are not only the best players in the world but they are great ambassadors for our sport and now we can work hand in hand together to develop the game here at home and abroad and elevate the women’s game around the world I think it is really special and I am really looking forward to turning the page and working together with the women’s team.
How did we get here?
In July 2021, the USWNT filed an appeal against the May 2020 ruling, saying the decision “defies reality” and is “legally wrong.”
The NFL tweeted a statement in response to the team’s plea, saying the decision “correctly states that the women’s national team earns more cumulative and average pay per game than the men’s national team.”
In September 2021, American football’s display of identical contracts for the men’s and women’s national teams was named a “Public Relations Thriller” by the United States Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA).
“In return, we are committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve equal pay and safer working conditions. The proposal that the USSF gave us recently does none of that,” she added.
Sana Nour Haq of CNN contributed to this report.