US Soccer claims it has paid more to players on the World Cup-winning women's national team than their male counterparts over the past decade. With weeks to go before mediation in the federal gender discrimination lawsuit, US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro released a fact sheet Monday showing the women's national team was paid $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses from 2010 to 2018, while the men's team received $26.4 million, per the New York Times. The federation notes this is because WNT players negotiated a guaranteed salary of $100,000 per year, plus game bonuses, and also receive a US Soccer-supplied salary of $67,500 to $72,500 for playing in the National Women's Soccer League. Though benefits were not included in the figures, the women also negotiated a benefits package "not provided to the men," which includes health, severance, and a 401(k) retirement plan.
On the flip side, men "are only paid for the training camps they attend and the games they play, plus game bonuses." Although male players "can earn larger bonuses, they are guaranteed nothing," the federation adds, noting it supports efforts to increase FIFA prize money for women's teams. US Soccer is "committed to doing right by our players," Cordeiro writes in an open letter, per the Guardian. "Together, I believe we can get this done." A rep for the female players involved in the gender discrimination lawsuit hasn't been won over, however. The release is "utterly false" and "a sad attempt by USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received," says Molly Levinson. "For every game a man plays on the MNT he makes a higher base salary payment than a woman on the WNT. For every comparable win or tie, his bonus is higher," Levinson adds. "That is the very definition of gender discrimination." (Read more US Soccer stories.)