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U.S. Soccer President: USWNT Paid More than Men

Jason Scott

In an open letter addressed to friends, colleagues and supporters of U.S. Soccer, U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro argued that amidst the debate spurred by the Women’s National Team’s lawsuit seeking equal pay and the team’s unprecedented fourth World Cup win, there’s “confusion” about how much the Federation actually pays the men’s and women’s teams. 

Cordeiro says in his letter that an analysis of 10 years of the Federation’s financials shows that: “...separate and apart from any prize money awarded by FIFA — U.S. Soccer has, over the past decade, paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team in salaries and game bonuses, and we continue to make unprecedented investments in our women’s program.”

The analysis is based on IRS filings, financial statements, collective bargaining agreements for both the men’s and women’s teams and salary information. The Federation says that a third-party accounting firm reviewed the financial analysis. 

Among the findings are that over the past decade, U.S. Soccer paid the Women’s National Team $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses, compared to $26.4 million for the men.

The Federation compiled a fact sheet based on its analysis, and in it describes several reasons for the disparity. Chief among these reasons is the different pay structures for each team, based on the collective bargaining agreements. 

The CBA that the women’s team agreed to provides guarantees that the men do not get, including salary and benefits such as health, dental and vision insurance (though the men’s CBA allows for larger bonuses). 

The fact sheet also argues that prize money distributed by FIFA for events such as the World Cup is outside of its control. 

Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the players involved in the lawsuit told ESPN that the Federation’s analysis was “a sad attempt by the USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received from everyone from fans to sponsors to the United States Congress.”

“The USSF has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally. This is why they use words like ‘fair’ and ‘equitable,’ not ‘equal’ in describing pay,” Levinson told ESPN.

“The USSF fact sheet is not a ‘clarification.’ It is a ruse,” Levinson continued.

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