Michelle Obama Says She's 'So Proud' of USWNT Players Who Advocated for 'the Pay They Deserve'

The former first lady praised the women after the announcement of the historic pay agreement reached by the organization this week

Michelle Obama
Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC/Getty

Michelle Obama is sharing her support for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team's (USWNT) historic pay agreement, reached this week.

On Thursday, the former first lady, 58, shared her thoughts on the landmark soccer collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) on Twitter.

"I'm so proud of the talented players of @USWNT who worked tirelessly for years to advocate for the pay they deserve," she wrote. "I'm thinking of all the little girls everywhere who dare to dream and will see this team as an example of what's possible when you never give up."

Thursday's tweet was not the first time the Obamas have backed the women's national team. In 2019, after the USWNT beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the Women's World Cup final match, former President Barack Obama showed off his very own personalized USWNT jersey.

"Proud to rep America's best team! Congrats @USWNT and thanks for being such a strong inspiration for women and girls — and everybody — all across the country," the former president, 60, said in an Instagram caption underneath a photo of him grinning and holding up the jersey with "Obama" printed on the back.

This week's milestone occurred when the United States Soccer Federation, USWNT Players Association and United States National Soccer Team Players Association agreed to historic CBAs that will include equal division of World Cup bonuses for the men and women players.

Megan Rapinoe
Alex Grimm/Getty

Under the new agreements, 90 percent of the men's and women's World Cup prize money will be put into a pool and split evenly among the two national teams. The CBAs will go into effect on June 1 and last until 2028.

The agreement also covers other areas such as child care, parental leave, short-term disability, mental health impairment, travel, safe work environment, scheduling predictability, and equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces.

Though there is a possibility for the men's soccer players to receive less compensation than in the past, Walker Zimmerman, U.S. Men's National Team defender, said during a call with reporters on Wednesday that it was the "right thing to do" when looking at the bigger picture.

"We recognize that sure, there was a potential chance of making less money, no doubt about it," he said. "But we also believe so much in the women's team and the whole premise of equal pay and ultimately that was a big driving force for us — to do something that no other team had done before and really try to do this together."

The update comes less than three months after the USWNT reached a settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation back in February, following a six-year fight for equal pay. In a joint statement released and obtained by PEOPLE at the time, the two organizations confirmed that they'd reached an agreement in a class action gender discrimination lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by multiple stars of the World Cup-winning team in 2019. Under the agreement, U.S. Soccer agreed to pay $22 million to the USWNT players.

Related Articles