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Fascinating – US Women’s Soccer Team Actually Paid More Than US Men’s Soccer Team

You’ll recall, of course, the rumpus over the manner in which the US women’s soccer team are paid less than the US men’s soccer team. Despite being so much more successful and general doing a better job?

The fascinating thing being that it’s not in fact true. The US women’s soccer team gets paid more than the US men’s soccer team. Yup, you read that right. More:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]As you’ll see—separate and apart from any prize money awarded by FIFA—U.S. Soccer has, over the past decade, paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team in salaries and game bonuses, and we continue to make unprecedented investments in our women’s program.[/perfectpullquote]

Yup, quite amazing how more paid out becomes lower pay when we’re discussing gender differences. Almost as if Barbie was right – math is hard.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Over the past decade, U.S. Soccer has paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team. From 2010 through 2018, U.S. Soccer paid our women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and we paid our men $26.4 million—not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.[/perfectpullquote]

Additional benefits including pensions and health care. Which are pretty big deals, right?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Guaranteed salary for women—Under their CBA, the women have chosen to have a guaranteed salary; U.S. Soccer therefore pays each WNT contracted player a base salary of $100,000 per year.(In contrast, the men’s national team players have no guaranteed salary and are only paid for the training camps they attend and the games they play, plus game bonuses.)In addition, U.S. Soccer also pays WNT contracted players a $67,500-$72,500 salary for playing in the National Women’s Soccer League.(In contrast, we do not pay salaries for men who play in Major League Soccer or any other men’s professional league).In other words, U.S. Soccer guarantees WNT contracted players who also play in the NWSL a base salary of $167,500-$172,500 per year, atop which they can earn game and tournament bonuses.Again, although players on our Men’s National Team can earn larger bonuses, they are guaranteed nothing; they have a different contract structure.[/perfectpullquote]

That’s a pretty big difference in pay structures right there. And it does indeed mean that the US women gain more from their employment by the soccer federation than the men do.

Equally, we can point out that the women gain less income from playing soccer than the men do. But that’s because the men’s club game pays much higher salaries than the women’s club game does. And it’s a bit difficult to blame the federation or the national team for that.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The widely-reported claim that our women players currently earn only 38 cents for every dollar earned by our men is false.This claim is based on out-of-date numbers that do not reflect what our women’s players actually earn today.In particular, it overlooks the guaranteed salaries described above.[/perfectpullquote]

Amusing, no? The widely quoted gender pay gap isn’t true? In this case doesn’t even include the salaries the women get?

This looks important too:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]One metric that can be measured directly is the revenue that our women’s and men’s teams generate, on average, game by game. From 2009 through 2019—a timeframe that includes two Women’s World Cup championships—the Women’s National Team has earned gross revenue of $101.3 million over 238 games, for an average of $425,446 per game, and the Men’s National Team has earned gross revenue of $185.7 million over 191 games, for an average of $972,147 per game.More specifically, WNT games have generated a net profit (ticket revenues minus event expenses) in only two years (2016 and 2017).Across the entire 11-year period, WNT games generated a net loss of $27.5 million. Nevertheless, U.S. Soccer does not view these as losses, but rather as an important investment in our Women’s National Team and in the long-term growth of women’s soccer.[/perfectpullquote]

As you can imagine this is causing feathers to be spit:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”The USSF fact sheet is not a “clarification.” It is a ruse. Here is what they cannot deny. 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. That is the very definition of gender discrimination,” Levinson said in a statement.[/perfectpullquote]

Well, no, the men don’t receive a salary at all from the national federation, do they? The claim here is that the men get paid more by their clubs than the women do. Which is a very, very, different statement and complaint, isn’t it?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Levinson continued by calling USSF’s numbers “utterly false” and said Cordeiro “inappropriately (included) the NWSL salaries of the players to inflate the women’s players’ compensation.”[/perfectpullquote]

That’s even more fun. The amount the women are being paid should not include the amount the women are being paid?

If we were playing in reality here I’d say that pay disparity claim fox had just been shot. As we’re talking about gender and feminism here then of course this is going to run and run. For as ever in that game facts be damned, eh?

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4 years ago

It has been an odd controversy, but reportedly the US men could earn a lot more than the women if they ever won the World Cup, and that has a lot of people pretty upset.

4 years ago
Reply to  TD

Doing something really difficult should be paid the same as doing something pretty easy?

4 years ago
Reply to  thammond

Men’s soccer generates much more revenue internationally so more can be allocated to players, especially top players. Blame that on the world’s greater interest in men’s soccer.

4 years ago

Stack it all on a table at midfield. Let the two teams play one game. Winners take all.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
4 years ago

In other news, it seems a Premier League striker gets paid more than a defender in the Isthmian League. For the life of me, I can’t understand why – it’s an outrage!

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