JEC Vice Chair Maloney Calls on US Soccer to Give USWNT Equal Pay

Jul 11, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), today formally demanded that US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro implement equal pay for the US Women’s National Team (USWNT).

The letter comes after USWNT’s record setting fourth World Cup win and a ticker tape parade in New York where Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s equal pay law standing with the team.

In the letter, Congresswoman Maloney says that even “[w]ith all that good feeling, the one dark spot is the fact that the winning American women’s team is paid less than the faltering American men’s team. The U.S. Soccer Federation must immediately change this situation. Fairness and equal treatment demand it.”

She argues that “[t]he USWNT players deserve compensation for the pay gap they have endured, and future contract negotiations must yield equal pay for men’s and women’s players.”

Full text of the letter below and a PDF here.

Dear Mr. Cordeiro,

Congratulations on the extraordinary success of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the World Cup this year!  Their win has lifted the spirits of Americans, inspired young people across the country and solidified the reputation of the U.S. team as dominant in the sport. There is a huge amount of excitement in watching the women play. They have inspired us with their fearlessness, enthusiasm, determination and hugely entertaining style of play. 

With all that good feeling, the one dark spot is the fact that the winning American women’s team is paid less than the faltering American men’s team. The U.S. Soccer Federation must immediately change this situation. Fairness and equal treatment demand it. As you know, since 2016, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has generated more revenue than the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, particularly in the year following their 2015 World Cup win. For the most part, this has not been reflected in their pay scale. Moreover, in 2018, they also played nearly double the number of games and won significantly more often than the men’s team. 

According to the lawsuit the USWNT filed, if the men’s and women’s teams won each of the 20 non-tournament games they are contractually required to play, USWNT players would earn a maximum of $99,000 ($4,950 per game), while USMNT players would earn $263,320 ($13,166 per game). Furthermore, the $15,000 the women were paid for making the national team pales in comparison to the $55,000 the men received in 2014 for making the team and the $68,750 they would have received had they qualified in 2018. The USWNT players deserve compensation for the pay gap they have endured, and future contract negotiations must yield equal pay for men’s and women’s players.

An added complication in the quest for equal pay is the huge disparity between the amount FIFA awards in prize money to the winning women’s team, $4 million to the U.S. women’s team in the 2019 World Cup, and to the winning men’s team, $38 million in the 2018 World Cup. The U.S. Soccer Federation should be supporting its winningest team and taking steps to achieve parity for the women by adjusting the pay structure for women in non-tournament and World Cup play, retroactively reimbursing USWNT members for previous underpayment, as well as encouraging FIFA to increase the prize money available to women. 

I urge you in the strongest possible words to do what is both right and necessary to give USWNT players the equal pay that they deserve. 

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY

Vice Chair, Joint Economic Committee

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