Soccer

U.S. women’s team earns six times less for reaching World Cup quarterfinals than men

A history of the USWNT in the World Cup

The USWNT has the most World Cup titles in women's history. If they win this year, they'll be the first women's team to win back-to-back World Cups.
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The USWNT has the most World Cup titles in women's history. If they win this year, they'll be the first women's team to win back-to-back World Cups.

Before the United States Women’s National Team plays France in a 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal in Paris, the players have already earned bonus money for reaching the last eight.

But that total, $90,000 per player, is more than six times less than what each U.S. men’s player would make for reaching the same stage of the World Cup, according to the Guardian.

The Guardian obtained the collective bargaining agreements from U.S. Soccer for its men’s and women’s national teams.

The outlet detailed the breakdown each player receives in bonus money for each stage of the World Cup tournament to highlight the gender gap in pay.

Here’s what the Guardian found:

  • Men’s players can earn $108,695 for World Cup qualification through a $2.5 million player pool U.S. Soccer distributes. That’s roughly three times more than the $37,500 that women’s players make for World Cup qualification. The USWNT also receives $3,000 in bonus money per qualification victory, while the qualification win bonus for the USMNT is $12,500.
  • Getting called up to the World Cup squad also earns a bonus with the USWNT players getting $37,500 and the men’s players earning $68,750.
  • The men’s team then gets incentives in the group stages based on performance, with a maximum of $85,599 earned from group stage points and an additional $195,652 for reaching the knockout stage. The women’s team members do not receive group stage incentives.
  • If the USWNT wins the World Cup, each player receives $110,000 while their male counterparts get $407,608. That number is derived from $9.375 million distributed equally among the 23 USMNT players.
  • One area the women’s team has an edge in is with a victory tour, which is something not covered in the men’s collective bargaining agreement. The USWNT’s four-game victory tour, contingent upon winning the World Cup, earns each player $60,869.
  • The total means the maximum earnings for a male player is more than $1.1 million compared to $260,869 for a female player in bonus money allocated to each U.S. national side at the World Cup.
  • FIFA offers a stark difference in prize money for each tournament, with $400 million in prize money at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and $30 million in prize money for this year’s Women’s World Cup in France.
  • U.S. Soccer does not distribute bonus money strictly from prize money FIFA awards. And the men’s team does not earn salaries for representing the U.S. at the World Cup. Their earnings are based on the bonus money awarded for performance, while the women’s players earn a fixed $100,000 salary plus an additional $62,500 to $67,500 for playing in the National Women’s Soccer League, which U.S. Soccer backs.

The USWNT players sued U.S. Soccer earlier this year in seeking equal pay.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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