U.S. Soccer Agrees to Pay U.S. Women's National Team $22 Million in Equal Pay Lawsuit Agreement

Members of the U.S. Women's National Team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for unequal pay in 2019

olympic gold medals
U.S. women's national soccer team. Photo: Getty

After six years of fighting for equal pay, the US Women's National Team has reached a settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

In a joint statement released Tuesday and obtained by PEOPLE, the two organizations confirmed that they reached an agreement in the 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 will pay $22 million to the USWNT players.

Additionally, U.S. Soccer will pay $2 million to the USWNT players specifically for post-career goals and charitable efforts, according to a press release sent out by U.S. Soccer.

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"We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer," the statement from U.S. Soccer and the USWNT reads.

Megan Rapinoe
U.S. women's national soccer team after World Cup win in 2019. Alex Grimm/Getty Images

"Getting to this day has not been easy. The U.S. Women's National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes," they continued. "Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow. Together, we dedicate this moment to them."

The statement concludes with: "We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women's soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe."

U.S. Soccer also announced that they have committed to an equal pay rate between Women's and Men's National Teams going forward in friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.

Megan Rapinoe, a USWNT star who helped push for equal pay alongside her teammate Alex Morgan, told CBS News Tuesday that she was "incredibly proud" of the agreement.

"Obviously, we have been in this for a long time, and coming from a long history of women who have fought to put this sport in a better place. I mean, I think pride comes to mind, just incredibly proud of the women on this team and all the women who this lawsuit represents," Rapinoe said.

She added, "The thing I look forward to and am really proud of is that, you know, the justice comes in the next generation never having to go through what we went through. It's equal pay from here on out."

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The agreement follows a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016 by five U.S. Women's National Team players — Morgan, Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd — who alleged unequal pay between men's and women's teams, according to NBC News.

In 2019, nearly 30 USWNT members filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for "institutionalized gender discrimination," and argued that they received less pay and poorer treatment than the men's team.

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